West Virginia Freshman Kevin Brophy Makes Immediate Impact Versus Texas Tech

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - With head coach Randy Mazey looking to create offense for his struggling club, Kevin Brophy got his chance.

The freshman made the most of it, going 2-for-2 with a pair of singles and an RBI against the best pitcher in the Big 12 in Texas Tech's Steven Gingerly. Gingerly entered with an 8-0 record and a sizzling 1.55 ERA while opponents were hitting just .158. The power left-hander exited Morgantown with his first loss of the season and a higher ERA after Brophy's two singles and multi-hit games from Cole Austin and Braden Zarbnisky helped the Mountaineers knock off the fourth-ranked Raiders 3-2 on Sunday.

Brophy, who got the start at third base as Austin slid to short, taking Jimmy Galusky's spot, also walked twice, meaning the New Jersey native reached base four times. It was Brophy's third start of the season, and his first in Big 12 play.

"Through my whole life, my dad was pretty good about making sure I swung at strikes," he said. "That's what he tells me, be confident up there. If it's not your pitch, don't swing at it."

Good advice, if one can follow it. It's not so easy with pitchers like Gingery often painting the corners. But Brophy was able to work walks in addition to finding holes with his singles, giving WVU the offensive shot-in-the-arm it needed after scoring just four runs in the first two games against Tech. 

"It's all about balance; that's all hitting is," Brophy said. "When I came here I was a little on my front foot. Coach (Randy) Mazey and coach (Steve) Sabins really worked with me on staying back behind balls and being able to drive off-speed pitches. I was excited. I have been swinging it pretty well over the last few weeks and I was ready to get into the line-up again. I waited patiently and got my turn and did my best. I've always loved the big moment. Whenever coach Mazey wants me to go in. I am going to hop on it. On BP, I always focus on the things they want me to focus on."

Brophy raised his season average from .316 to .381 with the hits, and the freshman now has eight walks, by far the most per at-bat of any Mountaineer this season - which should make his father, Tom, proud.

"That guy has sat and watched a lot of baseball this year and hasn't had much of an opportunity," Mazey said. "And (we put him in) against the best pitcher in the Big 12. He's on base four times. The guy is a gamer, a great player. He's the future of this program. He's not a guy that's real toolsy. But he's a gamer, a great baseball player, and we will hopefully be seeing a lot more of him this season."

Besides his offense, Brophy gives West Virginia flexibility in its line-up, with three capable players on the left side. Of now, Brophy is being groomed to replace Jackson Cramer at first base as the senior departs after this season. 

"It's all patience. At first I would get frustrated, wonder why I wasn't playing," said Brophy, whose sister, Megan, is a senior on the WVU rowing team. "But I realized I had to work hard if I wanted to play on a team like West Virginia. Look at our line-up from top to bottom. We are all real good and can play. I had to fight for my position."

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