The 6-foot-6 University of Louisville reliever entered in the sixth inning of a June 9 NCAA Super Regional baseball game against bitter rival University of Kentucky.
Armed with a 5-0 lead, the left-handed Wolf, a 2015 Edison graduate, had to take a moment and look around. The game drew 6,235 fans, and Louisville’s 5-2 win put them one victory away from a third trip to the College World Series in the past five years.
The No. 7-ranked Cardinals (52-10) again beat Kentucky on June 10, and will play Texas A&M at 2 p.m. Sunday in their opening game of the CWS in Omaha, Neb.
It was a far cry from pitching a home game against Huron or Margaretta just two years ago.
“Don't get me wrong, the Milan crowds were great — but it was definitely a big atmosphere and crowd,” Wolf said. “It was an insane experience to look around, and it was definitely the biggest crowd I've thrown in front of. Our team played really well, which made it easier to come in and do my job.
“Everyone did their part, it was a great team win, and we're all looking forward to what we hope will be an unbelievable experience this weekend,” he added. “It was always a goal to make it to Omaha and win an NCAA title, but it feels surreal so far.”
Wolf pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings in the win over UK, allowing one hit while striking out three of the eight batters he faced. In a June 3 regional game versus Oklahoma, Wolf pitched two scoreless innings — giving him 4 2/3 innings of perfect work with just two hits allowed in Louisville's tournament run.
For the season, Wolf is 6-0 with a 2.37 ERA in 23 relief appearances. He has allowed 10 earned runs on 28 hits (five doubles) in 38 innings of work. Wolf has struck out 33 batters and walked 13 this season.
The Cardinals are 20-3 in games Wolf has appeared, and he has not allowed a run in 16 of his 23 games.
“Very happy with my season so far,” Wolf said. “I feel like I've come a long way since last year, and I've thrown in as many games as I could have hoped for on such a great team. This was a big year to grow and come into big situations and help the team win.”
As a freshman in 2016, Wolf didn't factor into a decision and carried a 1.38 ERA over 15 relief appearances.
At Edison, Wolf was 10-1 with a 1.25 ERA with 104 strikeouts to 12 walks as a senior, which earned him All-Ohio first team honors in Division II, along with the Sandusky Bay Conference and District 9 Player of the Year.
As a junior, Wolf was 5-1 with a 1.01 ERA and 55 strikeouts for the Chargers. With his size and velocity on his pitches, Wolf had his pick of Div. I college programs, but ultimately chose Louisville over Indiana, N.C. State, North Carolina, Virginia and Vanderbilt.
Several of those programs are no strangers to the College World Series — but neither are the Cardinals.
“Honestly, a lot of things weighed into choosing Louisville, but the biggest thing is what just happened,” Wolf said. “We're going to Omaha to compete for a national title. Not many get to say that every year, and for a third time in five years we've had our season end on the biggest stage possible.”
After a 1.95 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings last summer for the Newport Gulls in the New England Collegiate League, Wolf will get his opportunity to pitch in the famed Cape Cod League this summer for the Chatham Anglers.
Wolf talked about his pitching role for the Cardinals both this spring and beyond.
“I've gotten a lot more comfortable out of the bullpen with runners on,” he said. “I would love to fit into a starting role, but wherever I can throw the most innings to help the team win is perfectly fine with me. Whether I start or stay in the bullpen, it really doesn't matter to me.”
And, what lies ahead this summer or even next season — when his MLB Draft eligibility returns — is all put on hold at the moment for bigger things.
“We feel like we're not done yet,” Wolf said. “We want to try and finish it out, and bring home the first NCAA title for Louisville.”