No. 7 Alton Rides Dominant Bryan Hudson To Victory Over Belleville West

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

Bryan HudsonBELLEVILLE, IL – With the Major League Draft quickly approaching, the decision makers have been making the trek to Southern Illinois to see No. 7 Alton’s 6-foot-8 lefthander Bryan Hudson. Area scouts have given way to their cross-checkers, scouting directors, and even major league general managers. The attention doesn’t go unnoticed to the casual fan, but a closer look at how Hudson is handling the scrutiny reveals the talented senior is feeling no pressure.

“I go out and do my thing…it’s me doing me out there, “ Hudson said. My team performed, they backed me up defensively on a day I didn't have my best stuff. I don’t see anyone behind the backstop. My strength when I get out there is my focus, and competing."

Hudson did just that in his 13 strikeout, complete game shutout on Thursday afternoon in Alton’s 3-0 victory over Southwestern Conference foe Belleville West. If that wasn’t enough, he also went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, providing the game’s first run on an RBI single to left.

The Missouri signee came out firing in the first sitting 88-91 mph with his fastball, showing improved downhill angle from a higher arm slot than when the PBR Scouting Staff last saw him in the fall at the Labor Day Challenge. Hudson struck out two in the first, the difference maker being his hard 76-78 mph curveball, which currently grades out at major league average, and was routinely thrown at the back foot of right-handed hitters garnering several swings-and-misses.

Alton got on the board in the third against Belleville West starter Matt Klosterman with two outs. Junior leadoff hitter Derrick Allen was hit by a pitch, then went first-to-third on a hit-and-run single to left by Air Force signee, senior outfielder Matt Hopkins. Hudson lined a shot into left field scoring Allen, giving the Redbirds the only run they’d need.

Hudson had nine strikeout through five innings, impressing throughout the outing with runners on base. The leadoff man reached base in the third, fifth, sixth, and seventh. Hudson struck out three in the fifth, stranding runners at first and second. He only allowed three infield singles, with three walks mixed in.

Alton coach Todd Haug said about Hudson, “He’s able to stay so even keel, you can never tell if he’s upset. He has the ability to increase his focus with runners on base…he doesn’t throw harder or have a better breaking ball, but he has the ability to go to another level with his focus in pressure situations. His teammates love to play behind him.”

Klosterman matched Hudson throughout his five innings of work, scattering four hits with six strikeouts and three walks. The unsigned senior impressed with a low 80’s fastball and a curveball he used to get ahead of hitters and would throw in any count.

Alton added two insurance runs in the sixth. Junior catcher Aaron Bonnell led off with a double to right into a stiff wind. After a strikeout, sophomore Steven Pattan reached on an infield error on a ground ball to short, putting runners on first and third. A miscommunication between middle infielder on throw down to second with Pattan stealing, saw the ball sail into centerfield, allowing Bonnell to score the game’s second run. Senior second baseman Jacob Skrabacz, fought off a fastball on the inner half, dumping it into shallow right field for an RBI and a 3-0 Redbird lead.

Hudson took care of the rest, striking out two in the sixth, reaching back for 89 mph on a swinging strikeout. He also struck out the game’s final two batters, finishing with 13 on the day, punctuated by one last nasty curveball down in the zone at 76 mph to cap his outstanding outing.

Hudson is now 9-1 on the season, and entered the game with West with a 0.34 ERA, striking out 129 in 61.1 innings. He’s allowed only 25 hits, has walked 22, and allowed five runs all year (only three earned). Alton’s three-hole hitter is also punishing pitchers at a .463 clip, with 11 doubles, six triples, and four homeruns, leading his team in RBI with 47.

With the win Alton improves to 26-5 on the year, while Belleville West drops to 11-17. Alton meet’s conference rival O’Fallon on Tuesday, but the game no longer has conference championship implications. Edwardsville’s 8-5 victory over O’Fallon on Thursday night makes the Tigers the outright SWC champions.

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