SOUTH BEND, Ind. – University of Notre Dame senior outfielder, and team captain Mac Hudgins (Richmond, VA/Douglas S. Freeman) told College Baseball Central Thursday that he is “surrounded with a talented team” and has a message for his teammates.
“Let’s give our best every day, “Hudgins stated. “Let’s grind, let’s go out there and do what coach needs and let the talent dictate.”
I got a lump in my throat, though certainly not as ostentatious as Knute Rockne’s famous pep talk, Hudgins, a 6 feet 180 pound two-year monogram winner, impressively showed me his ability to lead is as good as his ability to play. In keeping with Notre Dame standards Hudgins held a 3.070 cumulative GPA into the 2014 spring semester, to validate and reinforce his earlier academic accomplishments in 2012, when he captured Big East Academic All-Star honors. That’s why Notre Dame is who they are — because of kids like Hudgins — that can play and maintain good grades.
“The athletics and academics here are unrivaled.” Hudgins points out. “It was my goal growing up to get a good education at Notre Dame, a school so rich in culture and tradition. It has always been my goal since I was a kid to play in the ACC as well. You have to bring your best stuff in this league. I love the ACC, it’s a big step up.”
The Irish have their work cut out for them, as they face a schedule that is going to be challenging. In a league like the Atlantic Coast Conference, there is little room for blunder, and games in this neck of the woods require being won both in the mind and on the field.
“I am a day by day guy, Hudgins made clear. “I am a high energy guy and I put everything I have in to this game. So I have to try not to think too much, get quality at-bats, go after the ball on defense, and take it day by day. I am going to help the team as a captain.”
I am looking for Notre Dame to come through this year in the ACC. Head Coach Mik Aoki and staff has had a little trouble getting the pieces to fit in the puzzle as of late, nevertheless, I think this — well rounded — mix of talent the Irish has the capability of fielding, should surprise some people this year.
Guys like Hudgins don’t grow on trees, he — like so many other Notre Dame sports figures – gives the impression things get done when things fall in his hands.
You can see the Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team spring in to action on 02/13/15 vs. SIU-Edwardsville in Norman, Okla. (L. Dale Mitchell Park) 2:00 p.m. ET.