Brownlie has not pitched competitively since the 2002 BIG EAST Tournament and, after take a leave from the university during the fall semester, re-enrolled in classes for the spring term, keeping the option to return to school, and the team, open. His decision this evening closes the books on one of the most impressive athletic careers in Rutgers history.
Brownlie joined the Scarlet Knights in the fall of 1999 from nearby Edison HS, a First Team All-State selection and NJ Pitcher of the Year as a senior. After being selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 26th round of the ’99 draft, Brownlie opted for Rutgers and earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and Third Team All-America honors after posting a 10-1 record as a freshman in 2000. As the team’s top starter, Brownlie was the MVP of the 2000 BIG EAST Tournament, hurling a nine-inning shutout to propel Rutgers to a 1-0 win over Seton Hall in the championship game. He finished a perfect 7-0 record in BE play.
In the summer of 2000, Brownlie pitched for the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod League and earned the McNeece Award, given annually to the league’s top professional prospect. He posted a 4-2 record with a league-high 73 strikeouts.
In 2001, Brownlie was 6-3 for the Scarlet Knights, despite missing nearly a month with a fractured finger. In the summer, he joined Team USA and was named the National Summer Player of the Year after posting a 7-0 record with a 0.84 ERA in competition. He led Team USA in wins, innings pitched (53.2) and strikeouts (63) and was second among starters in opponent batting average (.176).
Prior to the 2002 season, Brownlie was featured on the cover of the Baseball America’s college preview issue and named the Louisville Slugger Preseason Player of the Year. He began the season with a 3-1 mark, but biceps tendonitis forced him to miss a start and hindered his effectiveness down the stretch. He finished the season 6-6 with a 3.50 ERA, but was still the 21st player taken in the 2002 draft and just the 11th pitcher.
Brownlie leaves Rutgers with several single-season and career records, including strikeouts (241) and shutouts (7). He finished with a 22-10 career record, the third-most wins in school history.
Brownlie’s decision to forego his senior season comes on the eve of Rutgers’
first practice, as the Scarlet Knights begin preparation for the 2003 season
on Saturday afternoon. The season kicks off with a three-game series at Old
Dominion beginning on Friday, February 21.