05/29/11 — Hall, Hudson key pieces for Trojans

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Hall, Hudson key pieces for Trojans

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 29, 2011 1:51 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Jeremy Hall shows up to the ball park each day not knowing what to expect.

Unfortunately, the same can be said of Curtis Hudson as of late.

Hall, has not had a defined role on Mount Olive's pitching staff all season. Used at times as a mid-week starter, an occasional weekend starter and a reliever, Hall is 5-0 in 15 appearances with a 2.17 ERA.

"We never knew what Jeremy's role has been all year," said Trojans' head coach Carl Lancaster. "Jeremy has been the guy we have gone to when we needed somebody and nobody else was available. Jeremy can come in as a starter or he can come in there to give us some innings to get us to (closer David) Combs. It is good to have Jeremy because he is a strike thrower."

Hall relies predominately on a fastball that tops out in the 80's, along with a curveball, change-up and slider while keeping pitches down in the strike zone. He pitched 5 2/3 innings of no-hit, scoreless relief in Mount Olive's win over Columbus State on day two of the Southeast Regional.

Hall, a senior transfer from UNC Asheville, started game two of the regional finals against Francis Marion and surrendered one run on three hits in 2 2/3 innings before giving way to Carter Capps. Hall also started the Conference Carolinas tournament finals against Limestone and delivered 4 1/3 solid innings. He provided a key inning of relief in the Trojans' victory in the final game of a critical series with Catawba.

"Coming to the park every day I have to have that mindset that I'm going in," said Hall. "It could be for one inning or right after the first inning I have to be ready. Growing up, coaches always told me to keep the ball down and throw strikes and that is what I have always been able to do."

Hudson has been a mainstay in Mount Olive's starting rotation since last season. Despite having similar statistics from 2010, the senior left-hander has become inconsistent. He surrendered just two runs on four hits in 4 1/3 innings during the Trojans' regional victory over Columbus State. Hudson was not nearly as effective in allowing five runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings in a loss to Francis Marion on the final day of the regional.

Hudson has displayed the ability to turn in big performances in the post-season after holding Francis Marion to two runs on five hits in a complete-game effort in the Trojans' season-ending loss in last season's Southeast Regional. It was Mount Olive's offense, not Hudson, that failed to produce against the Patriots.

"We have been asking ourselves what the difference with Hudson is," said Lancaster "He can go out there one inning and look great. The next inning you are saying 'Is this the same guy?' He has been very inconsistent and I think it is confidence. Right now he is really struggling mentally with his confidence and questioning himself."

As he prepares to step on the biggest stage in his baseball career, Hudson has focused on trusting in his own abilities while relying on the past World Series experiences of teammates Joseph Westbrook and Tyler Smith, along with assistant coach Jason Sherrer.

"My season has been difficult and I guess it would be compared to a slump for a hitter," said Hudson. "You've just got to keep battling through it. The toughest part has been trusting my pitches. There are times where there is a little bit of doubt creeping in and it does not go where you want it to. Having teammates like Joe and Smitty who won it and knowing it can be done makes it more of a reachable goal."