FARGO -- Cade Feeney expected to make an impact for North Dakota State baseball as a freshman.

What he didn't think he would receive was the amount of trust he's been given from the Bison staff almost immediately.

"Coming in and starting 8 games has been a big surprise for me," Feeney said.

It feels like destiny that Feeney is succeeding at the college level.

His father, Steve, played safety at the University of North Dakota, his uncle, Kevin, turned into one of NDSU's best quarterbacks, and his cousin, Trey, will play football for the Fighting Hawks in college.

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"Growing up I thought it was always football," Cade said.

His own football career at Century included a state title, unbeaten season, and multiple all-state selections. Feeney was a standout basketball player for the Patriots too. The football path, however, wouldn't be the one he chose. It was the one family member that went a different route he decided to follow.

Cade's older brother, Dalton, is playing at NC State, and was taken by Detroit in the 2016 MLB Draft.

"Growing up we always worked together, practiced together," Feeney remembered. "With him being my role model that was the biggest key. When he chose baseball, that was kind of why I was like, 'Now I want to do baseball.'"

That move has paid off. Feeney leads the Bison with 46 innings pitch, and his last outing was a masterful complete game against Western Illinois. He struck out five batters, and allowed just three hits in 116 pitches.

"It gives me a lot of trust with the coaches, knowing that they got faith in me," Feeney said, "and it gives me a lot of confidence in every outing."

"He's different from a lot of freshman because the moment is not too big for him," said Tyler Oakes, NDSU pitching coach. "He really goes out, competes at a high level, throws a ton of strikes with multiple pitches."

"He's a winner, he's won a state title with every sport he's played."

After playing just a handful of games, Feeney's outperformed some of his own expectations.

That reminds him that he made the right choice to go with baseball, even if he does miss the gridiron every now and then.

"Probably this summer I'll be bored cause I got nothing to do but it's all baseball here," Feeney said.