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Brad Bussard contributes as true freshman at Holy Names
Former Bulldog Brad Bussard made 18 starts at second base during his freshman year at Holy Names University. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Recruited by John Carrion to play baseball at Holy Names University, Brad Bussard competed under the direction of a different head coach during his first season with the Hawks.

Esteban Contreras was named Carrion's successor in October of 2015.

"I had some concerns at first," Brad said. "Everything worked out in the end."

Bussard, a 2015 Ceres High grad, contributed at second base while playing in 26 games for Holy Names.

"Going into the season, the new coach told me I had a chance to start," said Brad, 6-foot-tall 170-pound freshman. "I got my opportunity midway through the season and rolled with it. I earned the starting job. I was putting extra time in the cage to get my swing right. Defensively, I worked on my fielding a lot. I tried to get to the level I needed to be at."

Bussard started 18 times.

He totaled 13 hits, two triples, two doubles, three RBIs and 10 runs in 71 plate appearances.

Brad had a .985 fielding percentage. He committed just one error.

"It was difficult," he said. "Faster pitching. Faster pace. It took a while to get adjusted to it. I felt like I held my own for being my first year at the college level. I had a fun time."

Brad sought help from John Bussard, his father and former longtime coach, when he struggled and needed advice.

"I talk to him all the time," Brad said. "We have a great relationship. He knows my swing better than anyone else does."

Bussard collected one RBI and one walk in the Hawks' 7-3 season-ending loss to host Academy of Art University on May 8.

Holy Names posted an 11-39 overall record and placed ninth in the Pacific Western Conference (8-28) while competing at the NCAA Division-II level for the fourth season this past spring.

"It's a newer program," Brad said. ""They haven't experienced a winning season yet. I think it will happen by the time I graduate."

Brad and his twin brother Brent were both selected to the 2015-16 Academic All-PacWest Team.

Brad posted a 3.49 grade-point average.

Brent, a 6-foot-tall 205-pound freshman outfielder, had a 3.13 GPA.

Brent's lone at-bat during the season came against San Francisco State. He singled.
Brad believes the experience he gained this past season will help him succeed in the future.

He'll strive to bat over .300 during his sophomore year.

"I'll have a lot more confidence going into next year," he said.

Brad and Brent filled key roles while leading Ceres High's varsity baseball program to an 84-31-1 overall record, four Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths and two Western Athletic Conference titles from 2012-15.

The Bulldogs captured their second straight WAC crown (11-1) in 2015. Ceres High had a 23-7 overall record and advanced to the semifinal round of the Division-IV playoffs.

Brad, a standout hitter, shortstop and pitcher, was voted WAC MVP.

He batted .450 with three triples, four doubles, 19 RBIs, 15 runs and 10 stolen bases.

Brad had a perfect 5-0 record with a 1.18 ERA, three complete games and 34 strikeouts while pitching.

Brent had a breakout season with the Bulldogs his junior year. He earned second-team all-league honors. He missed first-team accolades by just one vote as a senior.