On the ‘Brink’ of Perfection

Cory Sparks, Editor in Chief

UW Oshkosh freshman pitcher Connor Brinkman has been nothing short of outstanding this year, as he has had a hand in the Titans’ nine-game winning streak.

The New London native has a 5-2 record with a 1.40 ERA and 60 strikeouts so far this year.

Brinkman has a notable performance of 16 strikeouts and just one earned run given up over eight innings in a 5-4 win over the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) on March 13.

Courtesy of UWO Baseball Twitter
Brinkman pitches in a game where he went six innings, struck out 10 batters and gave up two earned runs in 16-5 blowout over Finlandia University on April 15.

While Brinkman has experienced some success as a starter for the Titans, he said his love for the game is what got him into the sport to begin with.

“I started playing baseball when I was pretty young, and ever since I started I’ve always loved the game,” Brinkman said. “I grew up watching my brothers play, my father was my coach and I always thought that it was fun to play.”

Brinkman has a competitive nature that drives him to improve his game.

The left-hander said the competition between him and his brothers always pushed him to be better. He also said he was lucky enough to have the right people teaching him the ins and outs of baseball.

“I got to compete with my brothers while I was young,” he said. “All throughout little league and up to high school my coaches were all great and always teaching me something new.”

According to the Prep Baseball Report (PBR), Brinkman topped out with an 82-mph fastball in high school as a member of the New London High School baseball team.

He also played for the Legion Baseball travel team throughout high school.

Brinkman said he has noticed a significant increase in competition.

While some players in high school are there because their parents would like them to be involved in a sport or similar outside influences, Brinkman said everyone playing in college has their own motives.
“The biggest difference from high school to college I would say is competition,” Brinkman said. “Everybody who is playing ball in college is playing for a reason.”

While Brinkman loves the game of baseball, he said his favorite part of playing baseball at Oshkosh is the guys he gets to share the diamond with.

He said he has already formed relationships with guys where there is a support system on and off of the field.

“My favorite aspect of being a Titan is the friendships that I have gotten through the baseball team,” he said. “All of the guys are there for each other, and always will be.”

One of his teammates, infielder Jackson Broom, has given Brinkman plenty of run support this year. He currently has two home runs, eight RBI and is batting .426 on the season.

Broom said he has plenty of confidence in Brinkman whenever he steps on the mound.
“We know we’re getting a quality outing every time and know we’re putting a guy out there who’s going to compete every pitch,” Broom said.
While Broom is confident in Brinkman’s abilities, he said the left-hander has just as much confidence in himself and never backs down from a challenge.
“He doesn’t fear anyone or anything,” he said. “You could throw him against major leaguers and he’d still have the same amount of confidence.”
While Broom said Brinkman believes in himself, he also said that the ace isn’t very verbal when it comes to his confidence.

Broom said Brinkman goes out and does all of his leading on the field. He isn’t the guy screaming at the team to get them riled up, but he will go out on the mound and strike out the side when the team needs a 1-2-3 inning.
“He’s quiet but he leads by example,” Broom said. “He goes and gets the job done quietly.”
One aspect Brinkman said he has improved upon is his ability to place the ball right where his catcher, primarily Jake Anderson and Eli Davila, wants it.
“Something I have improved on this year is locating pitches better and perfecting my mechanics,” he said.
Broom said he sees Brinkman’s demeanor as one that is similar to an MLB pitcher known to be quiet and reliant on pitch location himself.
“In the way that he carries himself he reminds me of a left-handed Kyle Hendricks,” he said.
While Brinkman has a 1.40 ERA, the best of any pitcher in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC), he said there is still room for him to improve.
“A couple of things that I am going to improve on are my speed, different pitches and continuing to work on locating my pitches,” Brinkman said.

With a four-game series against UW-La Crosse and UW-Stevens Point being the remainder of the Titans’ schedule, Brinkman will look to finish the regular season strong before attempting to be a large contributor in the WIAC tournament.