WVU athletics

West Virginia’s Kevin Brophy, who had no homers in 40 at-bats as a freshman, hit three on Saturday in a 10-8 win over Illinois.

 

CONWAY, S.C. — Kevin Brophy homered three times, including a tie-breaking seventh-inning grand slam, and West Virginia beat Illinois 10-8 on Saturday at the Brittain Resorts Invitational to stop a three-game losing skid.

Brophy’s three home runs matched the second-most in school history and his eight RBIs were the fifth-highest total.

The sophomore first baseman hit a three-run home run in the first inning and a solo homer in the sixth.

The Mountaineers squandered a 6-0 lead when the Illini (1-3) stormed back with six runs in the bottom of the sixth.

That prefaced Brophy’s bases-loaded blast, a power surge for a player who failed to homer in 40 at-bats as a freshman.

“In my career, I don’t remember having a guy have as good a game as Kevin Brophy had today,” West Virginia coach Randy Mazey said. “He has a really good approach at the plate. He’s getting pitches to hit and taking advantage of them. That’s what good hitters do.”

Reliever Christian Young (1-0) picked up his first career win, tossing three innings while striking out five and allowing two runs on two hits with no walks.

After Illinois tightened the game with two runs in the ninth, Sam Kessler got the final two outs to earn his second save.

Sophomore right-hander Kade Strowd pitched into the sixth inning in his first start of the season, allowing four hits. He left after 71 pitches on the heels of yielding Zac Taylor’s two-run homer.

Tristen Hudson came on for WVU and recorded only one out before Bren Spillane launched a grand slam that squared it at 6-6.

Ryan Kutt (0-1) allowed the go-ahead runners to reach the seventh before Quinten Sefcik gave up Brophy’s go-ahead slam.S

“I am pretty encouraged. I thought we played a good game,” Mazey said. “Illinois battled its way back into it, but I thought we showed good signs of pitching pretty well.”

VCU 8, West Virginia 5

Brophy homered again in the nightcap, his fifth of the season, but West Virginia (2-4) lost to VCU for the second time in 24 hours.

Shortstop Jimmy Galusky’s solo shot in the eight was his second of the season

Sophomore Alek Manoah (0-1) lasted 4 2/3 innings and allowed five runs, on eight hits with four strikeouts and a walk. He exited with a 4-3 lead and two runners on and two outs, but back-to-back wild pitches brought both runs home.

The Rams (3-3) collected 13 hits.

WVU will wrap up the tournament against host Coastal Carolina on Sunday.

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