NCAA Super Regionals: Previewing the West Virginia Mountaineers

The UNC Baseball team will welcome the West Virginia Mountaineers to Chapel Hill this weekend for the Super Regionals. Get to know the Mountaineers here!
Patrick Mulligan/GettyImages

After dramatically winning the Chapel Hill Regional in Game Seven versus defending national 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.

How They Got Here:

A 36-22 overall record with a 19-11 record in Big XII play this season. They hold series wins over Oklahoma and Kansas State. In the Big XII tournament, they were eliminated 0-2 with losses to TCU and Kansas State.

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

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

Faced with Grand Canyon in the regional championship, the Mountaineers won with offense by a score of 10-6. They scored in the first five frames of the game, thanks to JJ Wetherholt, who was 3-for-6 with 2 runs scored and followed up by Logan Sauve with a 3-for-5 performance, including 3 RBIs.

Key Players to Know

Derek Clark

We’ve already mentioned Derek Clark. He’s a 5-9 senior pitcher who spent the first three seasons of his career at Division II Northwood University. He is a lefty who, during his time at Northwood, struck 259 batters in 264 innings. Don’t let his size fool you.

This year, he has compiled an 8-2 record while holding a 2.82 ERA through 89.1 innings of work. He has thrown 5 complete games for the Mountaineers this year, most recently in the regional opener versus Dallas Baptist. He has thrown over 116 pitches in a single game six times this year. Clark is most definitely the ‘Ace’ of the Mountaineer's pitching staff, and Tar Heel fans should 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 projected him to 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 outlets for college baseball. In 2024, he leads West Virginia in batting average with a .345 average and a 1.108 OPS (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 hits came in the regional championship game against the Lopes.

Defensively, he mostly plays shortstop for the Mountaineers but can move around the middle infield if asked to, holding a fielding percentage of 0.955. He has appeared in 34 of West Virginia's 52 games, as he missed some time in the middle of 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 with two different schools, Odessa College and Cisco College. His time at Odessa only lasted six games due to COVID. He transferred for one season to Cisco College, where he hit seven home runs and held a batting average of 0.439 in 21 games.

He then transferred to Houston Christian in the Southland Conference for two seasons and led the conference with a batting average of 0.392. He is third on the Mountaineers' batting average for 2024, hitting 0.310 this season, and second in OPS at 1.059.

He leads the team in doubles (15), triples (2), home runs (15), RBIs (48), total bases (122), and slugging percentage (0.652). He is a power threat who will not need to be taken lightly in the Chapel Hill Super Regional. If there is one area of weakness to attack, he shows to be an “all-or-nothing” guy in terms of power, as he also is tied for most strikeouts among the Mountaineers with 62 this season in 187 total plate appearances.