JJ Wetherholt

WVU second baseman JJ Wetherholt was named Big 12 Player of the Year Tuesday.

MORGANTOWN — It was a happy 57th birthday for West Virginia University’s Randy Mazey and, as it has been every day all year, it was a happy day for his second baseman JJ Wetherholt as they were named the Big 12 Manager and Player of the Year respectively.

In addition, Wetherholt and pitchers Ben Hampton, a starter, and reliever Carlson Reed, were name to the All-Big 12 first team while outfielders Landon Wallace and Brandon Barry, along with starting pitcher Blaine Traxel, were named to the all-conference second team.

Wetherholt, from Mars, Pa., completed an unprecedented season for WVU as he became the first Mountaineer to win the league’s Player of the Year honor. He finished the regular season second in Division I and first among Power 5 conferences with a .447 batting average.

But the sophomore was far more than just a singles hitter, adding 21 doubles and 15 home runs while driving in 56 runs. He also won the league’s stolen base crown with 35 in just 41 attempts.

He led the conference in batting, hits (92), OPS (1.296), runs (65), stolen bases (35) and slugging percentage (.786).

“It’s been amazing,” Mazey said. “Players like JJ don’t come along all that often. I’ve been in coaching 35 years now and you have good players, but JJ is a different cat now. He does it all really, really well.”

“He’s a good kid, a tremendous personality, very intelligent, great work ethic ... unbelievable baseball player,” Mazey continued. “You have to know he’s got a real career in this game and I hope to be one of the first ones sitting in the stadium when he plays his first big league game.

“It’s just been a joy to be around him this year. I’ve never seen a season like he’s had before and the way he’s handled it has been something special.”

Wetherholt has another year of eligibility before becoming eligible for the Major League Baseball draft and has said he would return next year no matter what to quiet social media talk that he would be offered a lot of NIL money to transfer.

That chatter has angered Mazey.

“That was pretty upsetting to me, that people are talking about our players transferring before the season is over. That’s nothing that should ever be talked about going into the most important weekend of the year,” Mazey said. “That served as nothing but a distraction, so we’re not discussing that.”

Mazey has revitalized WVU baseball since taking over in 2013, leading them into the new Mon County Ballpark where they set attendance and performance records. This year’s team stands at 39-16 and shared the Big 12 title after being picked sixth in the coaches’ preseason poll.

They raised their national rank to No. 6 before being swept in the final series of the regular season at Texas, forcing them to share the crown with the Longhorns and Oklahoma State.

Mazey owns a 335-246. record at WVU while competing in a conference with traditional baseball powers like Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Hampton finished the year with a 5-3 record and 4.50 ERA while Reed worked out of the bullpen to compile a 1.32 ERA while saving seven games while going 2-0.

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