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George Brown doesn't want the credit. He's not interested in the glory. No compliments for him, thank you very much.
The senior left-hander on the St. John's baseball team just wants to win and he's done that as well as anyone in the Big East and arguably the country this season. With a victory Saturday as part of the Red Storm's three-game sweep of West Virginia, Brown is a conference-best 9-0. His career record at St. John's is an absurd 22-2.
With all due respect to Oakland Raiders czar Al Davis, Brown just wins, baby.
Of course, he'll tell you different. He says the 22 career victories aren't all "legitimate" and the ones that are were the product of his team's offense.
"I don't know why we score when I pitch," Brown said.
His improved mechanics and stuff which have put him on the cusp of being drafted by a professional organization? Credit for that goes to pitching coach Scott Brown no relation.
But if you ask St. John's coach Ed Blankmeyer, he'll tell you a different story one about a kid who came in as a freshman and didn't pitch a whole lot. It's a tale about a southpaw who didn't have the greatest stuff on the staff, but who learned how to pitch as time went by. More than anything, the twine Blankmeyer spins is about someone who was never given something without earning it.
"That's what it's about it: getting an opportunity and making the most of the opportunity," the coach said. "He didn't get the ball, he earned it."
Scott Brown points to one game that changed Brown's career. As a sophomore, in his first career conference start, he shut down top-seed Notre Dame with St. John's facing elimination in the Big East tournament. He gave up only one unearned run and six hits in eight innings.
"That day was the day he got over the hump," Scott Brown said.
Brown only throws his fastball from 82 to 86 mph, but improved mechanics have increased the movement. Because of that and a Major League-caliber changeup, Brown has gone from a lefty with lackluster stuff to one with an above-average arm. He's even throwing a solid curveball about 12 to 15 times per game, according to Scott Brown.
But the thing that defines Brown on the mound is his control. His strikeout to walk ratio this season comes straight from your Playstation: in 72 1/3 innings, he has 50 punch outs and only seven walks. He's learned to pitch to contact crucial for his style and perhaps those who have benefited the most are the ready fielders playing behind him.
"George is the epitome of a left-handed pitcher," Blankmeyer said. "He just throws strike after strike after strike after strike...He's a premier college pitcher and he should get a chance to play professional baseball."
Just don't repeat that in front of him.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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