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UL leftfielder Gavin Bourgeois (41) is one senior who has decided not to claim another year of eligibility and leave the program after graduating in May.

It was just starting to feel like old times for UL senior outfielder Gavin Bourgeois when the bad news arrived.

The former Notre Dame baseball and football standout had missed practically the entire 2019 season with an injury and received a redshirt season.

With a new coach in place and still getting back in the groove after rehab, the early going was slow in February.

But on March 1, Bourgeois vaulted the Cajuns to a win over Sam Houston with a clutch three-run double. Two days later at Rice, he followed that up by going 2-for-5 with an RBI.

A week and a half later, the coronavirus shutdown hit, and in effect, ended Bourgeois’ baseball career.

“No doubt, after that game, I felt like I was me again,” Bourgeois of the Sam Houston win. “I was playing the game like I played it two years before that.

“My arm was still bothering me a little bit, but once I got a few games under my belt, it started to come back. I was getting the feel again. I think it was going to be a good year for not only me but also for the team.”

Shortly thereafter, the NCAA canceled the rest of the college baseball season and Bourgeois had a huge decision on his hands.

Turning 25 in November, did he want to miss the vast majority of a second straight season and claim an extra year of eligibility? Or was it time to move on with life?

“It was definitely a hard decision for me,” Bourgeois said. “At the time, I didn’t know if I wanted to play another year or just hang it up. So I kind of went back and forth a lot on what I should do with that other year. I weighed the pros and cons and just what was best for me and my future.

“It was a lot of things that went into it. My age had something to do with it, my injuries had something to do with it and where I was in school had something to do with it. I wouldn’t say it was just one thing.”

Bourgeois graduated in May in insurance and risk management.

“I had talked to coach (Matt Deggs) right when we knew the season was over and he told me that I had a lot of time to think about it,” Bourgeois explained. “He said we’d have exit meetings once school was finished. But towards the end of school when we started to finish, I had a good idea of what I was going to do.”

During the shortened season, Bourgeois hit .250 with a double and six RBIs. That came two years after a 2018 season in which he led the team in hitting at .311 with 14 doubles, three home runs and 38 RBIs.

Of UL’s five seniors, Bourgeois joined Hayden Cantrelle as officially not returning to the Cajuns. Cantrelle is entering professional baseball after Milwaukee drafted him Thursday, as is pitcher Brandon Young, who signed an undrafted free-agent deal with Baltimore.

Brennan Breaux has indicated he’s returning. Senior pitchers Jack Burk and Austin Bradford haven’t announced their decisions.

Furthermore, Colton Frank, Tremaine Spears, Jonathan Windham, Justin Greene, Brock Batty and David Williams have all entered the transfer portal.

“It was tough kind of getting that news and not being able to finish out the season,” Bourgeois said. “Things have kind of settled down now and I’ve kind of gotten my feet back underneath me.

“Right now, I’m just waiting all of this out, spending time with the family and relaxing a little bit. I’m looking for jobs and keeping my options open.”

And as tough as it’s going to be at first, don’t be surprised to see Bourgeois at Russo Park next spring.

“Yeah no doubt, I’ll definitely be out there,” he said. “I still have some teammates out there. I’ll definitely make as many games as I can. It’ll be different not being out there on the field, but It’ll definitely be fun to get out there again and go to some games.”


Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.