Eugene beats Spokane Indians for seventh straight time
Sun., Aug. 14, 2016
Growing up, Eugene Emeralds starting pitcher Bryan Hudson and his family were devout Cardinals fans.
Cardinals accessories lined the walls of his grandmother’s sports bar, Sunset Bar and Grill, in his hometown of Godfrey, Illinois, a city tucked into the southwestern corner of the state and only 25 miles from St. Louis.
But when Hudson was drafted by the Cubs in the third round of the 2015 major league draft, his grandmother traded half of the St. Louis gear for Chicago gear.
“The day I got drafted I was there with my family and everything and it just kind switched over from that day forward,” said Hudson (3-3), who threw five scoreless innings Sunday in the Emeralds’ 4-2 win at Avista Stadium – their seventh straight over the Spokane Indians. “They had to store (the rest of the Cardinals stuff) away for awhile.”
Although he grew up rooting for the other team in the Route 66 rivalry, he is happy playing for the other side as a professional. However, it doesn’t mean his friends and family didn’t have a hard time coming to see him playing for the Cubs.
“I had a lot of trash thrown at me,” Hudson said. “But it’s been an easy transition. I’m doing well and I wouldn’t want to be with any other organization right now.”
Hudson, a 6-foot-8 left-hander, had pro scouts coming in droves to Alton High School to see his curveball, which has impressed Eugene manager Jesus Feliciano this season.
“It’s a plus-curveball,” Feliciano said. “He can throw it for a strike and that’s a big key. Especially for a young guy who can command his secondary pitches, that shows a lot about who you are. I think that’s one of his best pitches.”
In Sunday’s win, Hudson commanded his fastball and change-up, as well as showcasing that lethal curveball in his best outing of the season, according to Feliciano.
“He pitched to contact (and) he kept it down,” Feliciano said of Hudson, who has a 3.60 ERA in 11 starts this season. “Even those four walks weren’t really walks. Those pitches were around the plate and we want him to be aggressive and to have command of his pitches and he’s doing that. He mixed his pitches very well and to me this was his best outing of the year.”
At 19 years old, Hudson is the 10th-ranked prospect in the Cubs organization, according to MLB.com. While it can be a lot of pressure for a teenager, he said he copes with it by coming home to Godfrey and decompressing in the offseason. Grabbing a meal at his grandmother’s sports bar is one way of doing that.
“They have some of the best wings I’ve ever had before,” Hudson said. “I still hold to that.”
Eugene struck first in the fifth inning, as Zack Short drove in Kevonte Mitchell with a broken-bat single to center field and Tyler Payne slugged a home run to left field to put the Emeralds up 2-0.
The Emeralds added to their lead in the seventh, as Wladimir Galindo sent a solo home run to left-center to push Eugene’s lead to three.
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