MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU sophomore JJ Wetherholt has taken the lead in the race for the Division I baseball batting title.
After a 4-for-11 series at the plate against Oklahoma, Wetherholt’s batting average sits at .463, good for first place in the nation. LSU’s Dylan Crews held the national lead in that category entering the weekend, but his batting average dropped to .462 after registering just two hits in 12 at-bats during a series at Auburn.
Wetherholt and Crews are simultaneously trying to become the first Power 5 players to finish a season with a batting average of .450 or better since Florida State’s Buster Posey in 2008. Posey, who played a dozen MLB seasons for the San Francisco Giants, boasted a .463 average during his historic final season at the collegiate level.
Wetherholt held the nation’s third-best batting average entering the Oklahoma series. He also surpassed Nolan Schanuel of Florida Atlantic, who’s average dropped 15 points to .456 over the weekend.
West Virginia’s sophomore second baseman recorded a pair of hits Saturday and Sunday against the Sooners. He launched an opposite-field solo home run in the first inning of Sunday’s rubber match, which WVU took 9-3.
Wetherholt, who earned the title of Big 12 Player of the Week Tuesday, is putting together one of the finest offensive seasons in Mountaineer history. He also continues to lead the conference in seven key stats: batting average, on-base percentage (.526), slugging percentage (.814), OPS (1.340), runs (61), hits (82) and stolen bases (33).
He’s the only player in the league hitting above .400 on the season, and could become the first Mountaineer to hit above .400 in a season since Dan DiBartolomeo (.439), Jedd Gyorko (.421) and Vince Belnome (.418) all accomplished the feat together in 2009.
According to the WVU baseball media guide, DiBartolomeo’s 2009 mark is the program record for batting average, but WVUstats.com recognizes Herb Stewart, who hit .494 in 1935, as West Virginia’s best single-season hitter. Additionally, WVUstats.com notes that Herbert “Babe” Barna also batted .467 during the 1935 season.
Regardless of which is considered the “true” program record, Wetherholt is currently is producing a season that is unmatched in the modern history of WVU baseball.
Wetherholt and the Mountaineers return to action Wednesday at Pitt. They’ll gun for a regular season sweep of their oldest and most-played rival at 6 p.m.