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18 days till FSU baseball: Hunter Perdue ready for big 2021 after medical redshirt season

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Perdue posted 2.38 ERA as starter at JUCO level in 2019.

Brett Nevitt

Hunter Perdue entered the 2019 spring as a Florida State commit and one of the top Junior College pitchers in the nation. Perdue posted a 2.38 ERA through seven starts to begin the season for State College of Florida, before the right-handed pitcher started to feel soreness in his right arm. The righty needed the dreaded Tommy John surgery. Due to the injury, he wasn’t drafted and ended up at FSU, but had to sit out the year while rehabbing his injury.

Perdue had to sit out a year of baseball for the first year of his career, and it was a difficult time for him. On missing a year due to injury, he said, “It was pretty difficult. It has always been a dream of mine to come here and play. When I finally got the opportunity, I was really excited, and then when I got hurt, it bummed me out.”

The Virginia native didn’t let the redshirt season bog him down for long, as he focused on the future and used the year as time to learn. He sat back and learned from his new Florida State teammates and coaches and took in as much information as he could. “Just being able to sit back and watch, I learned a lot from Belly (FSU pitching coach Jimmy Belanger) and a lot of the older guys last year about how to work counts and that pitching in the ACC is a lot different than it was in JUCO. It’s a whole different level here,” Perdue said.

Belanger wasn’t a part of the staff when Perdue was recruited to FSU, but he’s one of the main reasons the pitcher is excited to get back on the mound. He believes Belanger is one of the best pitching coaches in the nation and will develop his game at a rapid pace. On the second-year FSU pitching coach, Perdue glowingly remarked, “Belly’s fantastic. Watching him work with other guys and even just talking to other guys, they loved how he went about things and how he is always open to answer questions. If you’ve got them, he’s always there to help.”

For Perdue to get back to his old self, he had to go through the rigors of a full physical rehab to his throwing arm. His rehab was going as planned, until the Covid-19 virus hit, and the season was shut down. Perdue was sent back home to Virginia, where he had to approach his rehab differently.

“It was a lot different. Stoney (FSU baseball Athletic Trainer Brandon Stone) is really good at what he does and he helped me a lot throughout the first portion of rehab. Not being able to be able to go in and see him every day and get treatment and talk to him every day was definitely a difference, but he still communicated with me and gave me the rehab every day to do.”

Now that he’s back on the mound, he’s ready to do whatever his team needs of him. “I’m going to try to help us win the National Championship this year. That’s the end goal and I’ll do whatever I can to help the team out whether that means I throw a bunch of innings or I just throw innings when they need me to, it doesn’t matter. I’m just here to help win.”