Marysville starter tosses gem
Hudson and co. face minimum
Nick Hudson stepped on the mound at Appeal-Democrat Park on Saturday and, for the first time in 18 months, felt the thrill of pitching.
The seven innings he threw against the Oroville Pirates were more than he threw in his entire two-year career with Division-II UC San Diego. A redshirt junior, Hudson sat out this past season with Cal State East Bay.
This summer with the Marysville Gold Sox marks Hudson's revival. This is where he begins his collegiate baseball career anew.
Under the lights in front of 2,972 fans, the familiar sensations came back to him. Touching the rosin bag, gripping the seams, the pop of the catcher's mitt, all the things he missed in his year-and-a-half absence were finally back.
If Saturday's ballgame was the first step of Hudson's resurgence, he's off to a fantastic start.
The right-hander faced the minimum number of batters over seven shutout innings and helped lead the Gold Sox to a 5-0 win over Oroville.
Hudson was efficient with 83 pitches, five strikeouts and he only allowed one hit.
Taylor Wade and Chris Bataska pitched the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, as Marysville's trio of pitchers combined to face the minimum of 27 batters.
"It was awesome, I was feeling it, the crowd was into it, it was getting me pumped," Hudson said. "I had a blast, man."
Hudson only went to a three-ball count to three of the 21 batters he faced.
He was perfect through 51⁄3 innings before Seth Harvey broke things up with a single up the middle. Gold Sox catcher Justin Lamb gunned down Harvey trying to steal second and Hudson recorded a strikeout to complete the inning.
That single in the fifth was Oroville's only baserunner. Wade and Bataska each pitched perfect innings.
"It was tough sitting out this last year, but you have to keep focused because if you let that get in your head, then it takes you away from everything else you're trying to do," Hudson said. "I just try to keep things real simple."
Hudson received his first bit of run support in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Lamb led off the inning with a walk before Kyle Davis doubled. Tito Quiñones knocked in the game's first run with a sacrifice fly to plate Lamb.
Tommy Lininger drove in Davis with a line drive single into center field.
Marysville (3-0) added another run in the fifth on Lamb's RBI groundout. Lamb drove in another run on a groundout in the seventh and the Sox added their fifth and final run on a double steal.
It wasn't the offensive output of Friday night's 17-run demolition, but with Marysville's pitching performance, five runs more than sufficed.
"That was about as dominant of a performance that I've seen in a long time from a pitcher," said Gold Sox manager Jack Johnson. "What makes it even more extraordinary is the fact that he did not compete during the course of the year as a redshirt. It was pretty to watch."
Marysville goes for the sweep tonight at 6 p.m. as Wayne State right-hander Alex Pierse will take the ball for the Gold Sox.
Pierse pitched 641⁄3 innings for the Warriors this season with a 7-2 record and 2.80 ERA.
"These guys are very impressive to watch and their attitudes are phenomenal," Johnson said. "I'm very lucky to be around guys who love the game."
CONTACT Jimmy Graben at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4791. Find him on Facebook at advarsitysports or on Twitter at @ADjgraben