WVU Sports Hall of Fame
Written by Bryan Messerly
Chris Enochs (1995-97) used his golden right arm to become the highest draft pick in West Virginia University baseball history when the Oakland Athletics selected him No. 11 in the first round of the 1997 Major League Draft.
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The hard-throwing right hander from Newell, W.Va., won 12 of 13 decisions and tossed 10 complete games in a junior campaign that saw him earn All-Big East First Team and Big East Pitcher of the Year laurels, as well as First Team All-America recognition from Collegiate Baseball and the America Baseball Coaches Association.
He turned in a signature performance in the Big East tournament that year in front of scouts from every major league organization, outdueling Seton Hall ace and current Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Jason Grilli, 6-4. He finished the year with a 3.03 earned run average and tossed a no-hitter against Villanova that was a passed ball away from being a perfect game.
As a sophomore in 1996, he pitched the Mountaineers into the NCAA tournament - the last time a WVU team has qualified for the postseason - by throwing a one-hitter against Rutgers and then coming back on two-day’s rest to pitch the final inning of the title-clinching game against Notre Dame in the Big East tournament. Those performances earned him tournament Most Valuable Player and Most Outstanding Pitcher honors. He also picked up the win over Georgia Southern in the second game of the Atlantic Regional in Clemson, S.C.
For his Mountaineer career, he was 21-10 with a 4.82 ERA, 14 complete games and three shutouts in 205 ? innings of work. His 12 wins in 1997 are the second-most in a season in school history, while the 21 victories rank him 10th all-time at WVU; his 14 complete games are seventh and his three shutouts are third.
As a professional, he won nine of his first 10 decisions between Single A and Double A ball before a shoulder injury derailed his shot at the Major Leagues. He spent seven years with Oakland and one each with the Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations, advancing as high as the Triple A level before retiring in 2005.
One of the most sought-after players in WVU history, Enochs was an all-state baseball player, all-state quarterback and 1,000-point scorer in basketball at Oak Glen High. Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 59th round out of high school, he also spurned baseball offers from Ohio State and LSU, among many others, and a football offer from Pitt, to play for the Mountaineers.
Enochs returned to WVU to complete his degree in liberal arts in 2006, received his teaching certificate from Wheeling Jesuit University in 2007 and earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Salem International University in 2009. He currently is an assistant principal at Oak Glen Middle School in New Cumberland, W.Va.
He and his wife, Jennifer, and their daughters, Reece and Macey, live in Chester, W.Va.