by Patrick Gustavson
Sean Udris is a name that doesn’t often appear in the box score of a Central Connecticut baseball team, but that has not stopped the senior from becoming one of the most popular and well-liked players among his teammates.
In his three years at Central, Udris accumulated just 20 at-bats in 15 games (though he did miss his first season due to injury). In that time, he recorded just two hits while driving in three runs.
Also during that span, Udris has never played the field, acting only as a pinch-hitter or designated hitter.
He recalled his start as a third baseman (prior to his injury) before the team experimented with him in the outfield. Both Udris and head coach Charlie Hickey acknowledged his lack of role, with Udris even laughing when asked about it.
Though he knows his role on the field, Udris does not seem to mind, and looks to contribute in any aspect possible.
“We’ve got a lot of talented guys on this team, a lot of guys that are more talented than me,” Udris said. “I just try and be positive.”
This attitude has also prompted incredibly high praise from his coach.
“There’s no one else like him in the program,” Hickey said. “He’ll do anything for his teammates. He catches in the bullpen, he helps out and even pitches batting practice.”
Udris said he had never been a catcher, but willingly became a bullpen and warm-up catcher to help his team.
Udris has mainly been utilized as a pinch-hitter in the current season, getting just two at-bats prior to Sunday’s doubleheader against Sacred Heart. He struck out in his first appearance against Furman and recorded his first hit in the team’s March 28 contest against Brown.
Udris was once again called upon to pinch-hit in the top of the seventh (in a seven-inning game) with a man on first. He ripped a single into left field, advancing the runner, who would eventually score.
This performance, as well as injuries, opened the opportunity for Udris to make his first start of the season in game two, and he did not squander his opportunity.
Udris went two for five on the day, including an RBI-double in the top of the sixth, which spearheaded a five-run inning. He came back up in the seventh, grounding the ball to short. Despite the strong effort of the defender, Udris beat it out, driving in another run on his second hit of the day.
After advancing to second, he proceeded to steal third, forcing an error by the catcher, allowing him to score. This sparked a three-run rally that put the Blue Devils ahead, though they would go on to lose.
Statistically, it was Udris’ most successful day as a Blue Devil since he scored four runs in a game against Quinnipiac last season.
Udris now has four hits on the season, more than he had in the previous two years combined.
Every time Udris stepped in the batter’s box, the dugout burst into a long “U” chant. When he recorded his hits, his teammates and the fans erupted, showing his popularity.
Despite the limited role defensively, Hickey said that Udris could force his way into more action the rest of the way.