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He's the Wildcats' Mr. June

Undrafted UA senior Brown putting up big postseason numbers
2012-06-23T00:00:00Z 2014-10-10T11:26:24Z He's the Wildcats' Mr. JuneRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 23, 2012 12:00 am  • 

OMAHA, Neb. - Bobby Brown, had he chosen, could have turned the moments following Thursday's 10-3 College World Series win over Florida State into one big "I told you so."

And he would have had a point.

"Our old assistant coach kind of screwed him: He should have played a lot more. The draft screwed him: He should have been drafted," UA outfielder Robert Refsnyder said. "But Bobby's just a class act; you never heard him complain. He just busts his butt and works hard.

"And he has the sweetest left-handed stroke on our team, maybe the best I've ever seen."

The lasting image of the Arizona Wildcats' rout of Florida State might have been Brown, the team's fifth-year senior, launching a two-run home run to deep right field. The fourth-inning blast increased Arizona's lead to 10-1 and extended the designated hitter's run of hot hitting.

In eight postseason games, the San Diego resident is batting an even .400 with 11 RBIs and four extra-base hits. His 20 total bases rank third on the team, behind Johnny Field's 23 and Joey Rickard's 21.

Brown is 3 for 10 in three College World Series games with a double, home run and team-best four RBIs. His .700 slugging percentage during that span is tops on the team.

"As soon as I get my opportunity, I run with it," he said.

Brown will start at designated hitter and bat sixth Sunday, when the UA opens the CWS best-of-three finals.

Regardless of how the Wildcats fare, the 22-year-old Brown has already won. Even though, as his teammates remind him, he's old enough to be a coach.

"Apparently to them, my freshman year was back in 1980. I won it all in 1986," he said with a laugh.

Andy Lopez calls Brown "a joy" to coach, a resilient teammate who never let his playing time - or lack of it - affect his work ethic on the field. Brown redshirted as a true freshman in 2008 and collected only one hit in five at-bats a year later. He started 33 games as a sophomore in 2010, only to see his playing time cut in favor of Josh Garcia a year later.

In fact, coaches weren't sure what to make of Brown as the team opened the 2012 season. He had a disappointing fall camp and, after a hot start in practices, fizzled during the first dozen or so games of the season. He was benched for Joe Maggi shortly after the season started.

While Brown sat on the bench, however, the game slowed down - a sure sign of maturity and development. Brown opened coaches' eyes against Eastern Michigan in March and belted a game-tying, ninth-inning home run two weeks later against Oregon State.

Brown delivered a walk-off hit against Stanford on March 30 and was cemented into the starting lineup by the time they visited Utah a week later. Maggi moved to first base in place of Brandon Dixon.

The more Brown played, the more confident he became. And armed with more swagger, Brown started to hit.

Pac-12 coaches named Brown to the all-conference team last month. Though he was not selected in Major League Baseball's amateur draft, Brown figures to sign as a free agent once the Wildcats' season is over.

Brown will probably play the outfield as a pro, though he can also play first base.

The owner of seven triples this season, Brown is sneaky fast.

Scouts will be drawn to his power. Brown parked a home run to deep right field during Friday's practice at Creighton University, earning some cheering - and good-natured ribbing - from his teammates.

Still, "I don't want to think about (the pros) too much. I want to get that ring," Brown said.

Even after he leaves, Brown will live on at the UA.

"As long as I coach, I'll talk about Bobby Brown," Lopez said. "The next time somebody's in a similar situation, I'll probably mention a guy by the name of Bobby Brown: He didn't make any road trips his freshman year and didn't play a lot after that.

"And in his fifth year, he's hitting home runs in Omaha."

On StarNet: Follow all of the Arizona Wildcats sports teams through the summer at azstarnet.com/wildcats

CWS Finals

• What: Arizona vs. South Carolina

• Where: Omaha, Neb.

• Best-of-three series: Sunday, 5 p.m. on ESPN2 and 1290-AM; Monday, 5 p.m. on ESPN and 1290-AM; Tuesday, 5 p.m. on ESPN and 1290-AM (if necessary)

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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