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UCLA's Trevor Brown is Bruins' 'Mr. Everything'

Brown's versatility and clutch hitting have helped UCLA advance to an NCAA super regional, where they will play host to Texas Christian this weekend.

June 07, 2012|By Gary Klein
  • UCLA players congratulate Trevor Brown after he scored in Game 2 of the College World Series finals in 2010.
UCLA players congratulate Trevor Brown after he scored in Game 2 of the College… (Dave Weaver / Associated…)

Trevor Brown began his UCLA career as a catcher.

When he starts his pro baseball career, possibly this month or next, he will do the same.

Meantime, the junior from Valencia has played five positions this season, starting games at catcher, third base, second base and first base and also playing right field.

He is batting .322 with three home runs and a team-best 50 runs batted in.

"He's been Mr. Everything," UCLA Coach John Savage said.

Brown's versatility and clutch hitting helped UCLA win a share of the Pac-12 Conference title and a No. 2 national seeding for the playoffs. He came up big in last week's NCAA regional and figures to play a key role Friday night when the Bruins play host to Texas Christian in an NCAA super regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Winners of the best-of-three super regionals advance to the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.

UCLA (45-14) features staff ace Adam Plutko, outfielder Jeff Gelalich -- a supplemental first-round pick in this week's major league draft -- and center fielder Beau Amaral and catcher Tyler Heineman, who were seventh- and eighth-round draft picks, respectively.

Brown is just as valuable.

"I'm kind of the guy that, whenever something happens, they can stick me where they need me," said Brown, who also played shortstop during summer league games.

The San Francisco Giants drafted the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Brown in the 10th round and plan to put him behind the plate. That sounds good to a player accustomed to making daily inquiries to UCLA coaches about where they want him to work out.

"You have a bigger role and you're involved with every pitch," Brown said of catching. "But I like playing everywhere."

At Newhall Hart High, Brown played shortstop as a freshman. He played third base as a sophomore on the varsity, center field as a junior and catcher and pitcher his senior year.

UCLA recruited him as a catcher, but with Steve Rodriguez entrenched at the spot, Savage also deployed Brown to third base.

He was part of the Bruins' 2010 team that won a regional and super regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium, Brown delivering a crucial two-run, 10th-inning single against Cal State Fullerton to force a decisive game in the best-of-three series.

The Bruins advanced to the World Series and defeated TCU in a best-of-three semifinal series en route to the title series against South Carolina.

Brown started the final World Series game at third base, then moved to first after Dean Espy hurt his hand punching a dugout wall after an error. Brown was two for four in the Bruins' 2-1 loss.

Brown hopes to return to Omaha, but the Bruins must get past a surging TCU team that won the Mountain West Conference tournament and a regional at College Station, Texas.

The Horned Frogs (40-20) are led by pitchers Stefan Chrichton (9-2 record, 3.41 ERA), Andrew Mitchell (5-3, 3.93), Preston Morrison (9-1, 1.98 ERA) and left-hander Brandon Finnegan (4-4, 3.30), who could be the wild-card against a UCLA lineup of mostly left-handed hitters. Catcher Josh Elander (.316, 10 homers) and first baseman Kevin Cron (.350, six homers) are among the Horned Frogs' top hitters.

"It feels like we have the chemistry we did with the team in 2010," Brown said. "The players have been using their experience, so hopefully we'll keep that going."

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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