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Jake Brown’s bat one of the biggest surprises of fall camp

When he signed with the Tigers last fall, everyone was excited about what Jake Brown was going to bring to the LSU pitching staff.

“The experience thus far has been awesome,” he said. “I have been wanting this ever since I picked up a baseball for the first time. Now that I’m here, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

The 2023 Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year, the 6-2, 190-pound Sulphur native went 10-2 on the mound as a senior and finished as the 18th-ranked pitcher in the country according to Perfect Game.

However, it’s been Brown’s bat (17-54, .315 average, 403 on-base percentage) that has been the story of fall camp for LSU as Brown is legitimately under consideration for one of the starting outfield spots.

“This fall has been a grind,” Brown said. “But luckily for me, I have a great support system around me. All I’m trying to do right now is find a way to put myself on the field, whether that is hitting and scoring runs or pitching and stopping runs. I just want to get out there.

“It’s a little surprising (of how well he has hit this fall), but I also know the amount of work that I have put in since I’ve been here. This is something that I have wanted my entire life, so I’m going to chase it as hard as I possibly can.”

Evoking memories of fellow Southwest Louisiana teammate Gavin Guidry, who came from

Barbe as a top-tier hitter but ended up pitching and closing out the College World Series, Brown said the emergence of his bat has surprised him a little.

“Especially coming through the draft, all the talk was about me as a pitcher,” he said. “So it has been a little surprising about how I’ve been doing at the plate. The more I work on doing both (hitting and pitching), who knows what can happen.

“I’m really comfortable at the plate. We have a great mental health coach at LSU that talks to us a lot about controlling our breathing and controlling our heart rates in big environments.”

Tigers head coach Jay Johnson pointed to a moment during his recruitment of Brown that showed him he was capable of both hitting and pitching.

“I went and saw Jake play in March,” Johnson said. “He pitched and threw a complete game. But, watching him move in the batter’s box and move down the first base line; that night I was like this guy is definitely going to be a two-way player.

“He has definitely accelerated his development as a position player for two reasons in my opinion. First, he’s a sensational athlete and second he is a great competitor. He’s very mentally strong and up to the task and challenge. The athleticism part of it has allowed him to catch up to this level quickly. On the pitching side, he is doing fine. We are just deeper on the pitching side than we are on the position side. I think he has a great future on both sides.”

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