“We’re not new to adversity”: Mountaineers handling curveballs as challenging season continues

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It has been a trying season in a trying year so far for WVU baseball, but the Mountaineers are making the most of what’s being given to them. 

West Virginia is 3-3 to start Big 12 play, after taking one of three from Oklahoma State in its first Big 12 road series since 2019. 

Last month, just as the season was getting started, the Mountaineers endured a COVID stoppage, and when they returned to action in mid-March, they did so without manager Randy Mazey, who spent roughly three weeks away from the team due to personal reasons. The head coach rejoined the team Thursday for the series opener at Oklahoma State. 

In an exclusive interview for the WVU Coaches Show, Big 12 Pitcher of the Week Jackson Wolf said he and his teammates knew this season would be challenging.” 

“We’re not new to adversity,” Wolf said. “Everyone’s kind of been grinding for this entire year to get back out onto the field.”

While that COVID stoppage in early March was disappointing at the time, it turned into a great opportunity for the Mountaineers — several newcomers and youngsters were forced into the lineup and gained valuable experience.

“The time that some of our starters spent out due to the COVID protocols really gave opportunities to some of the younger guys to get some experience under their belt, which is really gonna come into play once we get deeper into Big 12 play, and we need to make some late-game substitutions in some big moments,” Wolf said. “That experience that they have is gonna pay off big time in those situations.” 

But what are the Mountaineers doing to blow off steam when they’re not on the diamond? They’re still competing — just on a Nintendo console. 

“Mario Kart has been — we’ve held that pretty close to us in some of our off time,” Wolf said. “We get pretty competitive with that, and I’d say that’s our thing this year.” 

After completing a gem against Kansas last week for West Virginia’s first Big 12 victory of the season, Wolf tied his season high with eight strikeouts in six and third in a win over the Cowboys. He is West Virginia’s season leader in strikeouts with 38. 

The Mountaineers return to action Tuesday at Pitt. First pitch set for 3 p.m. at Charles L. Cost Field. 

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