MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Despite missing the NCAA Tournament, the future is looking extremely bright for WVU baseball as it could return almost all of its starting lineup for 2023.
Senior right fielder Austin Davis, junior centerfielder Victor Scott II and sophomore left fielder Braden Barry were WVU’s outfielders for nearly the entire 2022 season. The final starting lineup featured freshman Grant Hussey at first base, freshman JJ Wetherholt at second, redshirt junior Tevin Tucker at shortstop and redshirt junior Dayne Leonard at third in the infield along with sophomore McGwire Holbrook behind the plate.
One of WVU’s hottest hitters down the stretch, Leonard actually saw most of his action at catcher, making 32 of his 41 starts behind the plate, while Holbrook saw 27 games as the designated hitter. Sophomore Nathan Blasick and junior Kevin Dowdell were also called to the DH spot this season while sophomore Mikey Kluska made 43 starts at second base.
All of those position players have the ability to be back on the diamond in 2023. Davis and Tucker graduated in May but still have eligibility remaining while several players, like Scott, have the potential to be selected in the MLB draft.
The best scenario, of course, is that the veteran trio returns for next year. If that doesn’t happen, however, Randy Mazey will still be in a great spot in terms of returning production.
Scott led the team with 47 RBIs with Holbrook (43), Wetherholt (39) and Grant Hussey (35) next in line on the stat sheet. Davis and Barry added 26 apiece while Leonard drove in 23.
When it comes to home runs, Hussey — known as “the Huss Bus” — had the route down in his first college season with a team-high 11. Scott, Holbrook, Barry each knocked six over the fence while Wetherholt added five.
Wetherholt and Holbrook led the team in doubles and were in the top three in hits with 64 and 56 respectively. Davis’ 74 hits were a team-high.
Aggressiveness on the base paths was one of WVU’s strengths in 2022, tallying a program-high 156 stolen bases. Scott smashed the program record with 38 steals, while Davis (29) and Tucker (21) were just behind. Barry (16) and Wetherholt (15) also tallied double-digit stolen bases.
While Davis, Scott and Tucker are the only three players who started all 55 games this season, Hussey saw 54 starts while Wetherholt made 53 starts in 54 total appearances.
The Mountaineers will also welcome eight new position players in the 2023 class, including two-way player Skylar King and Davis’ younger brother, Jared.
The transfer portal and MLB draft could impact WVU’s roster this offseason, but with Mazey’s ballclub potentially bringing back all starters and those newcomers transitioning into experienced players, the 2023 campaign is primed for even more success.