The lure of returning to Morgantown for the chance to pursue a Master’s degree and continue to develop as a baseball player was too much for WVU redshirt-sophomore pitcher Daniel Ouderkirk to pass up.
After the conclusion of the 2021 MLB Draft, a couple of key WVU returners announced their decisions to stay in Morgantown and Ouderkirk is the third WVU player to announce his decision to return for another year of baseball.
— Daniel Ouderkirk (@d_ouderkirk) July 15, 2021
Ouderkirk (6-foot-9, 250 pounds) is a towering righty relief pitcher for WVU from Penn Laird, Virginia. Undrafted out of Spotwood High School in 2018, despite drawing interest from MLB teams, Ouderkirk hasn’t gotten to see much action at WVU to begin his career in college.
After redshirting as a freshman in 2019, he did not see the mound in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. As a redshirt sophomore in 2021, Ouderkirk’s WVU career got off to a bumpy start.
Allowing two earned runs in his collegiate debut against Georgia State, he was forced to rebound from an early 27.00 ERA. A few poor outings kept his ERA higher than anticipated, but in 17 innings, he compiled a 7.94 ERA. He struck out 23 batters but allowed 19 walks in his 14 appearances (one start). A .265 opposing batting average, while not great, ranked sixth among WVU pitchers with double-digit appearances.
With four WVU pitchers selected in the MLB Draft this year, and with a full season of college baseball under his belt, Ouderkirk appears primed for a bigger role with the Mountaineers and a potential breakout season.