By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Former Stillwater High baseball player Matt Brown had Tuesday circled on his calendar for nearly a year.
The ex-Pioneer made his first trip to Stillwater as a member of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock pitching staff.
“Ever since I signed here, this was a game I was looking forward to,” Brown said following UALR’s 9-7 loss to Oklahoma State. “I wanted to come back — though I would have liked for us to get the win. But it was a big deal for me to get to come back home.”
Though the freshman pitcher didn’t see any action, he had lots of supporters in the crowd.
“It just didn’t work out to where I got to pitch tonight, but we’ve got capable guys on our roster,” Brown said. “But it was great to see all those people out here and I’ll get a chance to talk to them all for a bit.”
There were plenty of split allegiances in the crowd, too. Not only was his family on hand, but so too were several of his former SHS teammates and high school baseball coach Tony Holt.
“It’s kind of a family event. There’s a lot of teammates and coaches here, which tells you how much people think about him and the whole Brown family,” Holt said.
Holt added, “It’s always fun to come out and watch one of your former players get an opportunity to play on the next level and he’s playing at the biggest level with Division I. It’s just exciting because he’s such a great kid and I’m just trilled to death that he has an opportunity to be a Division I player and we still expect great things from him.”
Brown has had several opportunities to pitch for the Trojans, however. For the season, Brown has appeared in three games and registered an ERA of 19.29 in 2.1 innings pitched.
“I got some opportunities early in the year that I just didn’t take advantage of. But as of late, I feel I’ve been throwing better,” Brown said. “So I’m just getting ready for that next chance as we have a big Sun Belt series this weekend and hopefully I can get in there and help the ball club.”
While Brown has struggled in the few appearances he’s made, his high school coach said the fact that Brown is even getting to play in his first year in the program speaks volumes.
“It’s such a big jump from high school baseball to Division I. So for him to be a true freshman and to get on the mound at all, is a bonus to me,” Holt said. “A lot of freshmen get redshirted or they don’t get used at all.
“So the fact that he’s gotten out there some shows they expect good things from him, too. Just like anything else, the more he gets out there, the better he’ll get.”