Kyle Gray’s Special Day Helps Power WVU Past Horns
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Sometimes sports delivers moments that would be laughed at by any self-respecting script writer or novelist. Such it was for West Virginia second baseman Kyle Gray on Saturday at Monongalia County Ballpark as he and the Mountaineer baseball team downed Texas 8-6.
The win was special enough for Gray. A native of Blanco, Texas, he’s one of eight Lone Star State natives on the West Virginia roster, many of whom weren’t recruited by the Longhorns. That extra motivation makes any win over UT sweet, but that was just the start of it for the junior. His grandfather Robert Klepac, who has been unable to fly for two decades, was cleared to make a trip to see his grandson play a home game. Klepac, who played baseball at St. Edwards University in Austin, got to see a special performance.
Coming to the plate in the third inning, with his team trailing 3-2, Gray turned on an 0-1 fastball from Texas pitcher Chase Shugart. and drove it high into the wind over the right centerfield wall. The no doubt blast had Gray, normally a no-nonsense type, showing a bit of emotion. After touching the plate, he pointed to the stands between home plate and third base where many of his family members were sitting.
“My sister, my brother, my grandpa, my parents., my brother-in-law and his parents,” Gray ticked off the list of those in attendance.
Without doubt, hitting a home run in front of the big group was a thrill, but then Gray topped it. Two innings later, with Marques Inman on first, Gray again sat on an early fastball and got it on the first pitch he saw from Shugart. He turned on this one a bit more, sending it over the right field wall for a two-run score that gave the Mountaineers a 5-3 lead.
“It was awesome, I can’t even put it into words. After the first home run I pointed at him. When I hit the second one, I have no words for it, said Gray, one of the most self-assuming players in a WVU uniform. “Luckily I ran into a few baseballs and helped out a little bit. I got lucky with that.”
Well, not really. Lucky is getting a bat on a ball here and there and getting a few hits. Great is hitting .333 on the season, with a team best nine home runs and 25 RBIs (second), along with an OBPS of 1.054. Then there’s magical, which fits Gray’s Saturday perfectly.