A taste of the West Virginia Mountaineers

After dramatically winning the Chapel Hill Regional in Game Seven against defending champion LSU, the UNC Baseball program advanced to the Super Regionals. The Tar Heels will host the West Virginia Mountaineers this weekend at Boshamer Stadium, which should be another great atmosphere in Chapel Hill. Let’s get to know the Mountaineers.

An overall record of 36-22 with a 19-11 record in Big XII play this season. They have series wins over Oklahoma and Kansas State. In the Big XII Tournament, they went 0-2 with losses to TCU and Kansas State.

The 3-seed in the Tucson Regional with No. 13 national seed Arizona. They defeated No. 2 seed Dallas Baptist in the regional opener 4-1 behind a complete game from Division II transfer Derek Clark. Clark allowed just four hits and one run on 101 pitches while striking out eight.

That advanced the Mountaineers to the winners bracket, where they faced No. 4 seed Grand Canyon. Another strong pitching performance, this time from junior Tyler Switalski, advanced them to the regional finals. Switlaski went 7.2 innings, allowing just six hits and one earned run on 101 pitches. The Mountaineers won 5-2.

Facing Grand Canyon in the regional championship, the Mountaineers won on offense by a score of 10-6. They scored in the first five frames of the game, thanks to JJ Wetherholt, who went 3-for-6 with two runs scored and followed by Logan Sauve with a 3-for-5 performance, including 3 RBIs.

Derek Clark

We’ve already mentioned Derek Clark. He is a 5-9 senior pitcher who spent the first three seasons of his career at Division II Northwood University. He is a lefty who faced 259 batters in 264 innings during his time at Northwood. Don’t be fooled by its size.

This year, he has compiled an 8-2 record while maintaining a 2.82 ERA over 89.1 innings of work. He has pitched five complete games for the Mountaineers this year, most recently in the regional opener against Dallas Baptist. This year, he threw more than 116 pitches in one game six times. Clark is definitely the “Ace” of the Mountaineer pitching staff, and Tar Heel fans can expect him to take the mound in the opener on Friday night.

JJ Wetherholt

If you follow baseball, you’ve probably heard the name JJ Wetherholt. In January, Perfect Game predicted he would be the No. 1 pick in the upcoming MLB Draft. As a sophomore in 2023, he was Big XII Player of the Year for the Mountaineers and a unanimous First-Team All-American by seven different college baseball outlets. In 2024, he leads West Virginia in batting average with a .345 average and an OPS of 1.108 (on-base plus slugging).

In the Tucson Regional, he was held in check by Dallas Baptist and Grand Canyon for most of the weekend, going 3-12 with 1 walk. All three of his goals came in the regional championship game against the Lopes.

Defensively, he usually plays shortstop for the Mountaineers, but can move into the middle of the infield when asked, with a .955 fielding percentage. He played in 34 of West Virginia’s 52 games after missing some time in mid-April with a hamstring injury.

Reed Chumley

Reed is a senior who is in his fifth year of eligibility. He spent the first two years of his career in the NJCAA at two different schools, Odessa College and Cisco College. His time in Odessa lasted just six games due to COVID. He transferred to Cisco College for one season, where he hit seven home runs and had a .439 batting average in 21 games.

He then transferred to Houston Christian in the Southland Conference for two seasons and led the conference with a .392 batting average. He ranks third in the Mountaineers’ 2024 batting average, hitting .310 this season, and second in OPS with 1.059.

He leads the team in doubles (15), triples (2), home runs (15), RBIs (48), total bases (122) and slugging percentage (.652). He is a power threat that should not be taken lightly in the Chapel Hill Super Regional. If there is one weakness to attack, he shows that he is an all-or-nothing guy in terms of power, as he is also tied for the most strikeouts among the Mountaineers, with 62 this season in a total of 187 at bats.

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