By TESS SHEETS
Former UT baseball player Jimmy Hodgskin,’16, died on Sunday morning from injuries sustained in a car accident while driving on State Road 4oo. Hodgskin was traveling east when he sideswiped another vehicle while attempting to pass it, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. As a result, Hodgskin’s vehicle entered the median and flipped, coming to a final rest on the inside of the westbound median. Hodgskin wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. He died on the scene.
Senior right-handed pitcher Chris Williams says Hodgskin will be remembered for his sound advice and bright personality. “It’s just sad because he was a great player, but a better person, who just lit up the room when he walked in,” Williams said. “I know the UT baseball family will miss him a lot.”
Hodgskin was an economics major and left-handed pitcher for UT baseball for three years. He underwent two Tommy John surgeries during his career, which is a procedure that reconstructs the ulnar collateral ligament located in the medial elbow. This forced him to redshirt during the 2013 season and discontinue his 2015 season. However, his comeback in 2016 provided the baseball team with a vital bullpen pitcher in his last season.
“When I got a call from his mom at the end of 2015 saying that he was going to be healthy for the ‘16 season, I was shocked that he had even made it back from his second surgery,” head coach Joe Urso said.
Hodgskin’s personality was contagious, according to his teammates, despite the recurring injury.
Williams gives credit to “his arm and his knowledge,” as being impactful to the team.
Another teammate, senior right-handed pitcher Nick Nolan, attests to Hodgskin’s memorable personality. He recalls rooming with Hodgskin and former left-handed pitcher Kevin Martin, ’16, during a tournament last season.
“There’s so much down time when you’re not on the field, and the two of them together just made everyone else so happy because they were just so funny and so energetic,” Nolan said. “No matter what, they were never in a bad mood. And if someone else was in a bad mood, they could sense it out and give them a joke or give them something to brighten their day up.”
On the field, Hodgskin was a leader, according to Urso. As a transfer junior from Troy University in 2013 and with the compiled time of his involvement in the UT program because of his injuries, Hodgskin brought experience and guidance to UT.
“He was the type of guy that all the team kind of flocked around. They looked up to him a lot because he was one of the older guys and had been around here, and because of his work ethic,” Urso said. “He was just very mature, so he was easy for guys to want to follow, because he made a lot of good decisions.”
Hodgskin saw action in 12 games in his senior season, threw a total of 14.1 innings and struck out 11 batters, according to tampaspartans.com. He had a stand-out performance last season in a game against Embry-Riddle.
“He was lights out for three innings and kept us in the game,” said former outfielder Casey Scoggins, ‘16. “Whenever he came on the mound, we had a chance to either stay in the game or win it.”
Tess Sheets can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.