Home Jay Woolfolk didn’t have his best stuff, but he made it work in Super Regional clincher

Jay Woolfolk didn’t have his best stuff, but he made it work in Super Regional clincher

Chris Graham
jay woolfolk uva baseball
Photo: UVA Athletics

Jay Woolfolk, last week, pitched the game of his life in Virginia’s 9-2 win over Mississippi State to get the ‘Hoos to the Super Regional.

What Woolfolk was able to do on Saturday in UVA’s 10-4 win over Kansas State to get the program back to the College World Series may have been more impressive.

In last week’s win, Woolfolk was at his best – holding the Bulldogs to two runs on eight hits in eight-plus innings, striking out seven and walking one.

It’s one thing to be successful when you’re at your best, and another to do what Woolfolk did in the K State game, in which he admitted, and coach Brian O’Connor, a former pitcher and pitching coach agreed, that Woolfolk didn’t have nearly his best stuff.

Scuffling all afternoon, Woolfolk was still able to get into the seventh inning, with every pitch bringing possible peril – the final score will fool you because UVA scored five runs in the top of the ninth, but this one was a close game from the get-go.

“Just battling through it and all, and knowing that your offense is going to score, you know that, you know, that’s the easiest way to pitch, honestly,” said Woolfolk, who held the Wildcats to three runs on six hits in six and a third innings of work, striking out seven and walking two.

After being staked to a 2-0 lead in the first, Woolfolk gave K State a run back after walking leadoff man Brendan Jones, who stole second, got to third on a sacrifice bunt, then scored on a sac fly RBI from projected 2024 MLB first-round pick Kaelen Culpepper.

Back-to-back singles from Nick English and David Bishop in the second preceded an RBI groundout from Jaden Parsons that tied the game at 2-2.

Then Woolfolk settled down, retiring nine of the next 10 Wildcats hitters, the only baserunner, Culpepper, reaching on a flyball that was misplayed by leftfielder Harrison Didawick into a double.

Kansas State got a run in the fifth on a solo homer from Jones, but Woolfolk was able to get the side in order in the sixth before having to be lifted in the seventh following a one-out double off the bat of Chuck Ingram.

“The first two innings were a little shaky, but, you know, that’s the preparation that coaches put us through. You know, even though you don’t have your best stuff, you still got to go out there and perform, because these guys are counting on you,” Woolfolk said.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].