Former Warrior baseball standout, PR major Hunter Brown to pitch Sept. 13 at Comerica Park

It will be an exciting night at Comerica Park on Tuesday, Sept. 13, when the Houston Astros visit to face the Detroit Tigers. Hunter Brown will be the starting pitcher for the Astros as he returns to Detroit for the 6:40 p.m. contest. The St. Clair Shores Lakeview High School product made his debut on Labor Day, earning the win by tossing six scoreless with five strikeouts against the Texas Rangers.

But prior to becoming a standout on the mound, Brown was also aces in his College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts courses. Brown's final semester at the university in 2019, before being drafted by the Astros, saw him earn a 4.0 term GPA while being an All-American pitcher and having numerous scouts at every outing. In fact, his public relations professor, Shelly Najor, remembers the day Brown was drafted directly in between the two classes he was taking with her.

Hunter Brown (left) and Department of Communication Associate Professor Shelly Najor.

"I'm not surprised at Hunter's early success. He was the student who was on time, sat in the front row, earned good grades and always smiled," said Najor, associate professor in the Department of Communication and director of the undergraduate public relations program. "He was also the kind of guy willing to take a selfie with his crazy professor. Love that a humble, kind, local guy made it big. The Warrior community is so proud of you, Hunter!"

To help celebrate Brown's homecoming, the Tigers are offering a special ticket price for the Wayne State community for the entire series. Brown is Houston's top prospect and was selected in the fifth round (166th overall pick) of the 2019 MLB Draft. He became the highest baseball draftee since Anthony Bass, who was selected in the fifth round (165th overall pick) by the San Diego Padres in 2008.  

"Wayne State University, the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan has a tremendous tradition of athletic success," said WSU head baseball coach Ryan Kelley. "Much of this foundation is built on hard work, perseverance, sacrifice, teamwork and dedication. Hunter Brown's road to the Major Leagues is no different. We have been honored to share that road with him and look forward to witnessing his future!"

He was a consensus All-American as chosen by the D2CCA (First Team), ABCA/Rawlings (Second Team) and NCBWA (Third Team). Brown is the first athletic All-American in program history since Michael Wiseman in 2011 and the 14th in the 79 years of baseball at Wayne State University. The last pitcher to earn All-American accolades was Bass in 2008. Brown was named Midwest Region Pitcher of the Year by the National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) and the D2 Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA).

Brown is the first Warrior to earn a regional pitcher of the year award since Bass in 2008 and the first to win the GLIAC Pitcher of the Year award since Justin Mazur in 2010. In addition, he was a First Team All-Region selection by all three of those aforementioned organizations.

Prior to becoming a standout on the Major League Baseball mound, Hunter Brown was also aces in his College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts courses.

He finished his junior season making 14 appearances on the mound this season, going 9-0 with a 2.21 earned run average. He struck out 114 batters in 85 and 1/3 innings pitched, while holding the opposition to a .203 batting average. The right-hander tallied three shutouts and led the GLIAC in ERA, strikeouts, hits allowed per nine innings (6.54) and games started.

He ranked second in wins and complete games, while being a three-time GLIAC Pitcher of the Week. Brown also etched his name throughout the program record book, ranking second in strikeouts, fifth in victories, sixth in strikeouts per nine innings and seventh in innings pitched.  His ERA was below 2.00 for much of the season until his final start against Illinois-Springfield in the NCAA Tournament.

After signing with Houston in the summer of 2019, Brown pitched in the New York-Penn League (A short season) for Tri-City ValleyCats, where he compiled a 2-2 record and one hold with 33 strikeouts in 23.2 innings.  There was no Minor League Baseball season in 2020 due to COVID. Brown began the 2021 campaign with the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA). In 13 appearances, including 11 starts, he struck out 76 batters in 49.1 inning and limited the opposition to a .245 batting average. On July 31, 2021, Brown was promoted to the Sugar Land Skeeters (AAA). He pitched in 11 games, including eight starts, for Sugar Land compiling a 5-1 record with one hold.  Brown struck out 55 batters in 51 innings.

He started the 2022 season with Sugar Land Space Cowboys (AAA) and compiled a 9-4 record with a 2.55 earned-run average in 106 innings notching 134 strikeouts, while limiting opposing batters to a .186 average.  Brown also notched two holds and a save before earning the promotion to Houston on Sept. 1.

Wayne State Athletics contributed to this article.

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