Former Viking Returns to Berry as World Series Champion

Release Date: January 24, 2018

World Champion Houston Astros pitcher and Berry alum Collin McHugh came back to his alma mater Tuesday. 

McHugh spent time with the Berry baseball team and spoke to students in the Sports Communication and Sports Administration classes. The business major was drafted out of Berry College in 2008 by the New York Mets in the 18th round after spending three years pitching for the Vikings. Before bouncing around 15 major and minor league teams, Collin joined the Houston Astros in 2013. In November 2017, the Houston Astros won the World Series Championship. 

 “The media is our best connection to the celebrities of today and it’s refreshing to hear his take and respect for the media coverage. He gave us some very enticing knowledge on the do’s and don’ts as possible future journalists and sport connoisseurs,” said sports communication major Alexi Bell.

McHugh was drafted out of Berry College by the New York Mets in the 18th round of the 2008 draft after spending three years pitching for the Vikings. While at Berry, he made 42 appearances on the mound and collected 167 career strikeouts, a mark that still ranks top 10 all-time in Berry baseball history. After entering the majors, he bounced around and made stops on more than 15 different major and minor league teams before landing in the Houston Astros' rotation. Since arriving in Houston four seasons ago, McHugh has accumulated a 48-28 pitching record, more than 560 strikeouts and helped the Astros to the team's first World Series Championship last season.

 "It's been great," McHugh said, recalling the aftermath of arguably one of the best World Series in MLB history. "This had a big impact on the community. When we got back, there were a million people downtown for the parade and it was a pretty overwhelming experience. To see that much collective joy in one place after the rough year that Houston had was really special."

Many big-leaguers spend the Hot Stove season improving their craft away from their respective teams before spring training, but McHugh always finds time to return to Berry.

"This is where I really cut my teeth on how to play and how to pitch, and really take my game to the next level," McHugh said. "So I've always had a special place in my heart not only for coach Beasley, but for the whole staff and the organization."

McHugh had the opportunity to meet with the current Vikings baseball team on Tuesday morning, sharing his experiences since leaving campus.

"Just knowing that someone who went through the same things that we go through now and understanding that he got through them to get to the highest level and be successful is really cool," senior catcher for Berry, Jacob Delk, said. "It inspires the guys on the team to work harder."

McHugh will soon look ahead to his fifth season with the Astros organization when pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 13th.

"Berry has always been an amazing campus," McHugh said. "To be able to come back to spend time with the team, with [coach Beasley] and the guys this morning was fantastic. It's been almost a decade since I've been out of here, so there's a new crop of players now but it's fun to see that the spirit of Berry baseball just hasn't changed. It's still a great group of guys focused on academics, building character and growing as men."

Berry's head baseball coach David Beasley said, "we're super happy to have Collin back to reconnect with our team and program. We couldn't be more happy for his success. Everyone in our program lives through his accomplishments."

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