Kevin Newman's jersey may still say "West Virginia," but he's traded in the Black Bears for the Power.
The Pirates' first-round pick made his full-season debut Monday night. He notched his first hit, walked and crossed the plate twice as Class A West Virginia thumped Delmarva, 11-2, at Appalachian Power Park.
"It was a great time," Newman said after his first taste of South Atlantic League action. "I got to meet some new players and obviously played well tonight as a team. Personally, I did all right, nothing special. I'm just really excited to get here and play with these guys."
The Pirates' No. 8 prospect and Monday leadoff man for the Power knows how to hit, having been the only collegiate player in history to capture two Cape Cod League batting titles, so he may have been hard on himself with the assessment of his offensive showing. Newman reached for the first time when he worked a two-out walk in the fifth inning. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, he scored on Pablo Reyes' RBI single to center field.
In the sixth, West Virginia busted through. Newman singled to right in his team's seven-run frame and scored two batters later on a double to center by Pittsburgh's No. 28 prospect Jordan Luplow.
"I really got to see the chemistry of this team," Newman singled. "These guys, they rake. They hit really well, and it was nice to get the first one under my belt and get the monkey off my back. I look forward to hopefully having a lot more nights like tonight."
After being drafted with the 19th overall pick in June, Newman batted .226/.281/.340 in 38 games with the Class A Short Season Black Bears before earning a promotion after Saturday's game. In Charleston, Newman is getting acclimated to a new setting for the second time in two months.
"The first one for me personally is always the tricky one, trying to feel things out and get used to where you're at and the surroundings," he said. "To have that one under my belt is obviously great. It's everything from little things like what time to show up to the field, what time we start work to the pregame tendencies and routines. All that stuff, you kind of get a feel for. Going into tomorrow, I feel like I've got my feet under me and it'll be a little more normal."
Facing more advanced pitching could benefit the University of Arizona product, who raked at a .370/.426/.489 clip for the Wildcats in the spring. With the final month of his rookie season in his sights, Newman would like to finish 2015 on a high note.
"For me, it's just putting in some quality at-bats, and most importantly to keep this team where they're at now and head into the playoffs hot," he said. "We're trying to make a run and go deep into the playoffs and win a championship. That's something that we like to do at all levels here with the Pirates.
"The goal never changes."
Taylor Gushue plated four runs and Michael Suchy finished a triple shy of the cycle for West Virginia.
Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun.