NC State's Brett Kinneman (Aaron Fitt)


Golden Spikes Spotlight: Brett Kinneman


NC State recruiting coordinator Chris Hart remembers seeing Brett Kinneman terrorize opposing pitching during a tournament in Charlottesville, Va., when he was a high school underclassmen. A week later, Kinneman did the same thing at a tournament in Atlanta, and Hart’s mind was made up. The Wolfpack offered Kinneman a scholarship quickly and beat out plenty of other interested schools for his commitment.

Kinneman never really put up gaudy numbers in high school up in York, Pa., hitting .316 as a junior and .278 with three homers as a senior — but Hart knew he was getting a good player. He just didn’t know how good. How could anyone know Kinneman would grow into one of college baseball’s premier power hitters — and well, premier all-around players, gauging by the season’s first three weeks — by the time he was a junior?

“You know how it works, you never really know until they step on campus, but I felt good about him,” Hart said. “We gave him a pretty good scholarship and felt really good about him as a player.”

As a freshman in the fall of 2015, it took no time at all for Kinneman to work his way into NC State head coach Elliott Avent’s good graces.

“When he walked on campus, I told Chris Hart — who recruited him — ‘I love that kid.’ He’s just a throwback to everything the game used to be when we all fell in love with it,” Avent said. “I grew up loving Mickey Mantle, and I call him Mickey Mantle because he reminds me of Mickey Mantle. That guy’s playing hurt. He banged into the wall his freshman year and dislocated his shoulder that he had dislocated on a swing. He does so many things. He reminds me a little bit of (former Wolfpack baseball/football player) Russell Wilson too — Russell used to play hurt all the time, and nobody would ever know he was hurt because he’d run off the field, and everybody thought he was fine.”

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