Hudak emerges as a top player in first year at FAU

Jackson Wolek

Alex Hudak, FAU’s left fielder, is having one of his most remarkable performances in his collegiate career in his first year as an Owl. Hitting .394, he has the second-best average in the Sun Belt Conference, a conference that was ranked fifth best in the nation just a year ago.

With Dan Scheffler having been out for 20 games this season — five due to a suspension in the beginning of the season and 15 for eye surgery — Hudak has been a huge boost in the lineup for the Owls, who currently sit third in the Sun Belt behind FIU and Troy.

“I thought that he was going to hit for a little bit lower average and more power, but it seems to be the reverse,” admitted head coach John McCormack on what Hudak has been able to do thus far.

The 5-foot-11-inch junior came to FAU from Seminole State College in Sanford, Fla. But it’s not his first time playing Division I baseball, as he played his freshman year at Stetson, where he batted for a .256 average. That experience, along with the knowledge passed down to him by his brother, who played at Bowling Green University, has helped him become the player that he is at FAU.

“Just watching him play was kind of like having a role model for me,” said Hudak. “I think that’s what really drove me to baseball.”

The move from a junior college back to a university was still somewhat difficult to make for Hudak — not so much in terms of baseball, but adjusting to school in general.

“School is a little harder, it’s a little more time management, but other than that, baseball is the same no matter where you go,” said Hudak.

Although he did get some Division II offers to play football, he knew that baseball would always be the sport for him. Standing an inch short of 6 feet tall, he claims that he was always thought of as being too small to play football in college, and even joked about the same thing being said in baseball.

Born in Ohio, he played high school ball at Mount Dora High, a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Boca.

This helped in his decision to come, as he noted his new school was close to family, but at the same time far enough away. He also liked the good situation that he would be in, given that he’d be able to play with a talented roster.

“You can sit back and watch these guys and see how they act and go about their everyday work effort, and it just helps a lot,” said Hudak. “How guys have carried themselves professionally, that’s one thing that has really benefited me a lot.”

That kind of attitude is something head coach John McCormack looks for in all of his players, and was one of the things that drew his interest toward Hudak. “Great spirit,” “great demeanor,” and “wonderful person” are just some of the phrases he used to describe Hudak.

“The people that we talked to said he was a high-character guy and he does things right, which are important,” McCormack said.

To follow up the success that the Owls had last year in winning the Sun Belt Conference outright, players with the attitude that Hudak possesses are what is needed to hold a team together and help make the final push toward the end of the season.

“We’ve stumbled a little bit, but talent-wise and in the standings we’re still in the thick of it, so who says we can’t go win 11 in a row and go out and win this thing?” asked Hudak, confidently.