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Baseball: Brothers in arms

Vicky Jacobsen | Wednesday, April 18, 2012

When Irish senior right-handed pitcher Will Hudgins and his younger brother, freshman outfielder Mac Hudgins, were growing up, their three-year age gap kept them from competing on the same teams – but it definitely didn’t keep them from competing with each other.

“I’d say pretty much our entire relationship is based around competing at almost everything, including eating,” Will said. “The youngest child [brother Jay] learned that he had to eat all his

food really fast, because Mac and I would take it if he didn’t eat it fast enough.”

Video games also proved to be a contentious activity.

“Video games are very, very competitive, except Mac usually wins,” Will said. “That really frustrates me.”

“I win a lot of stuff,” Mac said. “I remember the time I beat [Will] in putt-putt and [he] wouldn’t talk to me the whole way home.”

But when it came time for Mac to look at colleges, Will put aside any miniature-golfing grievances and lobbied for his younger brother to join him in South Bend.

“He helped convince me to come here,” Mac said. “At the same time, he didn’t really need to because it’s Notre Dame, and it’s where I wanted to go at the end of the day.”

Mac also said his older brother helped him ease into college.

“I was with him a lot at first,” Mac said. “I would ask him a lot of questions about how to get places, and what to do with this and that, so he definitely helped.”

In addition to fielding calls from their mother to assure her Mac was well taken-care of, Will said it has occasionally been difficult to balance his roles as team captain and older brother.

“It’s been kind of tough for me as a senior and as a captain, just to avoid any favoritism when it comes to Mac,” Will said. “I think I hold Mac to a higher standard. I think the great thing is that most of the guys on the team really like Mac, and that makes everything a lot easier.”

Irish coach Mik Aoki, who coached twin brothers during his tenure at Boston College, said the key to managing siblings is to avoid assuming they have similar personalities.

“I just try to deal with each kid individually,” Aoki said. “I think they deserve that. Will and Mac are two very different kids, and they play two different positions.”

Aoki said having siblings on the team helps his program.

“I think it’s neat. It’s one of the great things about Notre Dame. There is a lot of legacy and family and all those different types of things here, and to have that in the baseball program is great,” Aoki said. “They’re two great kids and they come from a great family, so we’re really happy to have them on the team.”

Will said he has enjoyed both his time on and off the field with his brother.

“I think the upside is that I get to hang out with Mac at baseball, but then we try to hang out away from baseball,” Will said. “When we’re at baseball, it can be kind of stressful and we’re more worried about what’s going on on the field.”

And when the two do hang out, their competitive tendencies still come out.

“We’re typical brothers. We argue and compete about everything,” Will said. “It just happens at Notre Dame now.”

The Hudgins brothers, and their teammates, will return to the field Friday when they take on Georgetown in Bethesda, Md., at 7 p.m.


Contact Vicky Jacobsen at vjacobse@nd.edu