Designated hitter Bobby Brown is the first fifth-year senior position player to play for coach Andy Lopez at Arizona.

Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

Before playing Sunday's series finale at USC, the Arizona Wildcats watched the Trojans honor 12 seniors for their service to the program.

The UA then routed its host 6-1, dropping USC into sole possession of 10th place in the 11-team conference.

There's a connection.

Seniors are the surest sign of mediocrity in college baseball. Most are too unskilled to get scouts' attention as juniors and, typically, too dense to take a hint.

Then there's Bobby Brown.

Arizona's designated hitter has emerged as an unlikely force in his fifth and final season on campus.

Brown's seven triples rank second among Pac-12 players. He's fifth in the conference in slugging percentage (.582), seventh in RBIs (46) and eighth in batting average (.353). Despite starting just 37 of the UA's 52 games, Brown ranks second on the team with four home runs and is tied for second with 104 total bases.

He'll be honored as one the Wildcats' two seniors this weekend, when Arizona (36-16 overall, 18-9 Pac-12) faces rival Arizona State at Hi Corbett Field. The other: little-used reliever Michael Lopez, coach Andy Lopez's son.

In honor of Brown's five years at the UA, here are five little-known facts about the Wildcats' late-blooming hitter:

1. Brown is so old that … He redshirted in 2008, the year Arizona advanced to the Coral Gables (Fla.) Super Regional and finished one victory away from the College World Series. The playoff series included five players who have since made the major leagues: Arizona's Daniel Schlereth and Ryan Perry and Miami's Yonder Alonso, Blake Tekotte and Jemile Weeks. Another player in the 2008 Super Regional, Hurricanes catcher Yasmani Grandal, is now the Triple-A Tucson Padres' top player.

"Isn't that crazy?" Brown said. "I feel old. … I know I'm not that old - I'm only 22 - but on this team, I'm real old."

Brown hears daily jokes from his teammates, who call him "grandpa" and ask if his bat doubles as a cane.

Lopez said: "I call him Coach Brown."

Were Brown an actual coach, however, he'd be the program's most tenured assistant. Since he enrolled August 2007, the UA's entire staff, except for Lopez, has turned over.

2. During Brown's redshirt season, the Pac-12 was 18 percent smaller than it is now. Since then, Oregon has re-started its baseball program and the conference has expanded to add Utah; fellow addition Colorado doesn't play baseball.

"I've been too busy day-to-day to notice that," Brown said. "I mean, wow."

3. He collected only one hit in five at-bats as a redshirt freshman in 2009. Not that any UA regulars remember: Only one current teammate, Michael Lopez, was on the team back then - and he was redshirting the season.

4. Brown is having a career year. He has more hits, triples, RBIs and total bases this season than in his previous three years combined. The lefty didn't hit a single home run until this spring; he now has four. Part of Brown's renewed success has to do with playing time - 37 of his 77 career starts have come this season - but the rest is mental.

He's learned to relax in his final season, and good results have followed. He's hitting an even .400 in his last 29 games with seven doubles, five triples and four homers.

"This year, I've been able to show what I've always known I've been able to do," Brown said. "The key to that is because I'm playing every day."

5. He's played himself into prospect-hood. College seniors are typically short on leverage, in part because they can't return to college if a pro team's contract offer falls short. Brown will have some pull, however, if he continues to hit.

"It's working out," Brown said. "Hopefully, we can go all the way this year, go to Omaha.

"There's a reason why I'm here."


Most of the Pac-12's top baseball players sign pro contracts following their junior seasons, meaning senior-laden teams typically struggle. Here's a look at the number of seniors on each team, and where they fit in the Pac-12 standings:

Team Seniors Pac-12 standing

USC 12 10th place

Utah 7 11th place

Cal 6 9th place

Oregon 5 1st place

Oregon State 5 6th place

Washington State 5 t-7th place

Arizona State 3 t-3rd place

Stafnord 3 t-3rd place

Arizona 2 2nd place

Washington 2 t-7th place

UCLA 0 t-3rd place

Note: Two of Oregon's five seniors are junior college transfers, and one is a transfer from rival Oregon State.

The series

• What: Arizona State at Arizona at Hi Corbett Field. Games on 1290-AM.

• Friday: 6 p.m.

• Saturday: 6 p.m.

• Sunday: Noon