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May 29, 2014
Nebraska baseball recruits' reaction
Nebraska's baseball recruiting Class of 2014 is currently ranked No. 19 nationally by Perfect Game website, which is the tops in the B1G conference again.
When they arrive on campus this summer, it will only be the Cornhusker staff's second full recruiting class under Coach Darin Erstad, recruiting coordinator Ted Silva, and assistant Will Bolt.
HuskerOnline.com reached out to NU's signees and commits to get some comments from the 13 prospective future Huskers about Nebraska's performance in the Big Ten tournament, as well as their own spring seasons.
Husker baseball Class of 2014 feedback:
OF/RHP/SS Luis Alvarado [6-5, 185; Salinas, P.R. (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy)]
He is currently in Puerto Rico and could not be reached.
C Nathan Chunn [6-foot, 195; Escalon (Ca.) Modesto C.C.]
What did you think of Nebraska's performance in the Big Ten Tournament? "Yeah, I got to watch all of the games that were aired [on BTN]. I watched them all. I liked it. The fans were great, the big crowds were amazing, and you could tell even all the way out here in California the passion that Nebraska was playing with and how competitive it was. It seemed like a great tournament and they did well. So I was happy about that."
What did you think of the crowds at TD Ameritrade Park? "Oh, it was great! You could hear them roaring even through the TV and they were talking about how on the last day they even opened the bleachers and they filled up the whole outfield. I mean, it was amazing to see and it's a baseball player's dream to play in front of a crowd like that."
What do you see in Nebraska's future? "I think underneath these coaches and the talent they have coming back and the talent coming in and stuff, we're going to be a very competitive team and hopefully we will get a lot of wins and keep on that road to Omaha."
How did/is your spring season go/going? "I did well. I came in as a freshman and started and caught most of the games. I hit well and led the team in doubles. I hit for the second highest average and was named second-team all-conference. We played in the Big 8 conference which is one of the most respected in California for junior colleges. The competition level was good, so it was a good transition and I think it's going to help me prepare to come in and play at Nebraska next year."
** 3B/1B/RHP Sean Dageforde [6-3, 195; Louisville (Kent.) Trinity]
What did you think of Nebraska's performance in the Big Ten Tournament? "I watched most of the Michigan game and the first half of the Indiana game. I've been extremely excited ever since I decided that's where I was going, but watching them play and knowing that I get a chance to be a part of that... it's a huge incentive. It's like a kid on Christmas morning, that I get to be a part of that. To be involved in that is an amazing opportunity. It's just something that I cannot wait to get involved with. Maybe it's just in this region, but at the beginning of the season, people weren't really talking about them. Then I think they said at the beginning of the IU game that Nebraska was already in the (NCAA) Tournament. That game didn't even matter. Just knowing that I get to be part of such a strong program makes me want to be there all the more."
What did you think of the crowds at TD Ameritrade Park? "In Kentucky, baseball here is still important, but it's an afterthought behind basketball and football. Seeing the crowds that come out like that to support a school makes the opportunity to play for them that much more enticing. You know as a player you're going to go out and play in front of huge crowds and you're going to have the support of an entire nation of fans behind you, it makes you want to play there more. I think it also gives you a certain momentum that you can't match anywhere else. That's something you can't get anywhere else. It's like the 12th man in football. It's a huge factor and a huge confidence boost. I think it's something that's unique to Nebraska."
What do you see in Nebraska's future? "I only see Nebraska going up, and I'm not saying this year was bad by any means. I'm just saying that with the amount of success they're having and the caliber of players they're bringing in, I just think that they're going to be a force you need to watch every year. I would give anything to be there right now and be a part of it. People find out that I'm going to Nebraska and I'm going to get a chance to play, and it's just a sense of, 'Wow, you get to be a part of that?' This program is going to be something that no one has ever seen the likes of before in terms of success and recruiting. I just honestly cannot wait to see what the future holds."
How did/is your spring season go/going? "Thursday we're playing for the regional championship against our rival, so that's going to be a pretty interesting game. The season started off pretty rocky, but we've turned it around here at the end. This year, especially offensively, I'm playing the best ball of my entire life. I'm doing really well, and most of it is just because our coaches made us pound out hours and hours of practice. But it's really paying off and I'm seeing huge payouts at the plate. This is really going to help me step up and be ready to play at Nebraska."
3B/OF Elijah Dilday [6-1, 195; St. Charles (Mo.) Francis Howell School]
What did you think of Nebraska's performance in the Big Ten Tournament? "I watched a lot of the games and I thought it was good. I thought it was great. Indiana is a really good team and it would have been great if we would have beat them in the championship, but we're still in the [NCAA] tournament so I'm pleased with it."
What did you think of the crowds at TD Ameritrade Park? "Oh, I thought that was great! I thought it was awesome! I was proud about it, just how many fans they had, especially for that last game. There was almost 20,000, I think."
What do you see in Nebraska's future? "I think we're going to be great. We have a really great recruiting class and there's already going to be a lot of good guys there, so I think we're going to win some ballgames."
How did/is your spring season go/going? "It's going pretty good right now. I have been a little off and on, but overall I have done pretty well. My team is in the sectionals right now and if we win two more games we are going to state. We won state last year, so hopefully we'll do it again. I think that I'm batting .445, something like that. I have over 40 RBI, 16 doubles and four home runs. I also have a few triples. I was also just named a third-team high school All-American from the High School Coaches Association."
RHP Reece Eddins [6-5, 195; Lee's Summit (Mo.) Blue Springs South]
What did you think of Nebraska's performance in the Big Ten Tournament? "I got to watch bits and pieces, but that was also the weekend of my school's graduation so I was pretty busy. But I did get to watch some bits and pieces of them and they played really well in the whole tournament. They didn't get the last one against Indiana, but they played great."
What did you think of the crowds at TD Ameritrade Park? "I think it's awesome! The whole place was almost full of red and it's just awesome, especially for the team to have that fan support. You just know that they are going to be with you no matter what and how the game is going. It always helps you play better too."
What do you see in Nebraska's future? "I think this team is going nowhere but up. I think they have had a solid year so far. They are in the NCAA tournament and they have a lot of good returning guys and I know our 2014 class is pretty solid too. It's just going to be great to play with these guys."
How did/is your spring season go/going? "We have had a really good year. We have a bunch of seniors on our team and it's been really fun to play together. I have pitched pretty well. A couple weeks ago, I threw back to back no-hitters against our rivals Blue Springs High School, and one of them we lost but the second one we won. So that was kind of odd. We lost 2-0 in the first game and won 1-0 in the next game."
RHP Zack Engelken [6-5, 210; Overland Park (Kan.) Blue Valley West]
What did you think of Nebraska's performance in the Big Ten Tournament? "Yeah, I did and they have had a great run, so it's been good to see. I know that it didn't really matter for them getting into the Regionals what they did in the championship game. I mostly just saw the championship game."
What did you think of the crowds at TD Ameritrade Park? "Oh my gosh, it was incredible! I'm excited to experience that next year. There's nothing like it. It felt like their home field. I'm really looking forward to it."
What do you see in Nebraska's future? "It's going to be nothing but positive. I mean, I know we've got a great class coming in with our 2014 class if all of us make it up there."
How did/is your spring season go/going? "It's going pretty good. We have our state tournament this weekend. We won state last year, so we're hoping to repeat. I won the Kansas Pitcher of the Year again, as well as last year too. It was for all the classes. I am 7-1 and I have something like 63 strikeouts and I think my ERA is something like 1.60. We're doing pretty good this year and I think we have a chance to take state again."
RHP Byron Hood [6-1, 170; Roca (Neb.) Norris]
What did you think of Nebraska's performance in the Big Ten Tournament? "Oh, they played great. They played well as a team. They pitched really well and the way they played together really made me proud of what I am about to be a part of next year."
What did you think of the crowds at TD Ameritrade Park? "You know, that's probably the biggest crowd I have ever seen at a Husker game before. To be able to play in front of a crowd like that was probably one of the biggest things."
What do you see in Nebraska's future? "I'm hoping we get back to the Big Ten tournament again and I want the team to have a Big Ten tournament championship under our belt and then go into the Regionals and Super Regionals."
How did/is your spring season go/going? "It went pretty good. We lost in state in the semifinals, but we played really well. I think I went 6-0 pitching. Yeah, we did all right. Honestly, I didn't pay any attention to my stats or anything like that."
RHP Garett King [6-3, 180; Orange (Calif.) Lutheran]
What did you think of Nebraska's performance in the Big Ten Tournament? "I watched the Michigan State game and I wasn't able to watch the Indiana game, but I was following all the updates on Twitter. I'm impressed. Any team that's going 40-19 and is the No. 2 seed in a Regional, they're hot at the right time. I'm excited to play for a club getting off the ground like they are."
What did you think of the crowds at TD Ameritrade Park? "That was crazy. We're actually in an iMessage group chat with some of the recruits, and Jake Meyers sent us a video from the Indiana game. He just panned the stadium and you see 20,000 people in straight red. It just looked awesome. Playing in front of that kind of crowd, I can't wait for it."
What do you see in Nebraska's future? "I'm extremely optimistic about what the future has in store, regardless of whether or not Nebraska moves onto a Super Regional or the [College] World Series. It's got a bright future ahead. We've got a lot of young, talented recruits coming in and we hope to continue the success that this team has put together this year."
How did/is your spring season go/going? "We've won 13 of our past 14 games, including a wild-card game in the first round of the tournament. I threw a complete game battle to get a win in the first round."
* OF Monte Harrison [6-3, 205; Lee's Summit (Mo.) Lee's Summit West]
He declined to participate in the interview/article.
LHP Jake McSteen [6-foot, 190; Great Falls (Va.) Langley]
What did you think of Nebraska's performance in the Big Ten Tournament? "Yeah, actually they were all on the Big Ten Network so I got to watch all of them from Virginia. I thought it was awesome, from the comeback against Ohio State when they scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth. And then beating Michigan State with the atmosphere they had."
What did you think of the crowds at TD Ameritrade Park? "I think they had 12,000 fans at that Michigan State game. Then they lost to Indiana, but there were 20,000-plus fans there for a college game which was the second biggest crowd for a college game attendance this year. I thought it was awesome and I cannot wait to be a part of it. I was really impressed with the way they finished the tournament, even with the loss in the championship."
What do you see in Nebraska's future? "I think you can see the improvement they had. They had, what, 29 wins all of last year and they already have 40 this year and they are heading to a Regional with more to go. I think with our class and who they have returning next year, we should increase the number of wins and maybe even host a Regional in Lincoln next year instead of being a 2 seed in Stillwater."
How did/is your spring season go/going? "We are actually still playing. We start our Regional tournament this Friday, but I have had a pretty good year. Pitching wise, I am 7-1 with an ERA right now of 0.20 or something like that. I had my first loss on Friday. We lost 3-0 with three unearned runs, so that was a tough loss. I have given up two earned runs in 57 innings. I have 81 strikeouts and have walked eight guys all year. So I have had a pretty good season on the mound. Hitting wise, I have been hitting third in the lineup and it hasn't been the best year for our team as a whole, but I have been hitting like .460 or .470 right now. I just got Player of the Year for our conference, and I was first-team as a pitcher and an outfielder also. I have thrown two two-hitters and one one-hitter this year, but I haven't thrown a no-hitter yet this year."
LHP/OF Jake Meyers [5-10, 165; Omaha (Neb.) Westside]
What did you think of Nebraska's performance in the Big Ten Tournament? "It was awesome! It was awesome seeing them come from behind and never giving up on a game. That just makes me even more excited. I actually went to the Big Ten championship game and the atmosphere was unreal. Some of us in the 2014 class actually had a group chat going and we are all really excited to play in that type of environment next year. A group of five of us had a chat going and we were talking all about it during the game."
What did you think of the crowds at TD Ameritrade Park? "It was unbelievable! They set an NCAA record, I believe. I mean, that just goes to show how great Nebraska fans are. I'm just excited to play for them."
What do you see in Nebraska's future? "Coming up we're going to have a lot of success. This class before us is looking really good with a lot of youngsters playing, and our class is looking very, very good. So I mean, it's only going to go up."
How did/is your spring season go/going? "Hitting wise, I just did OK this season but in the state tournament I kind of felt my swing and I hit really well in the state tournament. But pitching all year round, I thought I was on top of my game. I think I had the best year this year pitching wise, so I think I had a good spring. We won state [in Class A], so it was a good one. I struck out 12 in the state championship game. I went 8-0. I'm not sure how many strikeouts I had, I want to say I had in the range of 90-100. I think my ERA was sub-2.0, but I'm not exactly sure."
C/OF/RHP Jakson Reetz [6-1, 195; Hickman (Neb.) Norris]
What did you think of Nebraska's performance in the Big Ten Tournament? "I thought it was great. I mean, they persevered through a lot and they got second to a very good Indiana team, and they're going to a Regional for the first time in, what, six years? Is that right? They have all the talent in the world and they're making the most of it right now."
What did you think of the crowds at TD Ameritrade Park? "I mean, it's awesome! They have the best fan base in college baseball right now and I don't know why you would put the Big Ten tournament anywhere else."
What do you see in Nebraska's future? "I feel like it can be very special, very special. With what the guys are doing right now, hopefully they can get back to Omaha and get to play in TD Ameritrade again. Hopefully, they can continue to go from there."
How did/is your spring season go/going? "We had a good season but it didn't end the way we wanted it to, but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way with the great group of guys we have. I had a pretty respectable year, but I can always do more and want more. I couldn't tell you my stats, I didn't really worry about that. I was just trying to get us in the 'W' column every game."
1B/3B Scott Schreiber [6-3, 215; Menasha (Wisc.) Kimberly]
What did you think of Nebraska's performance in the Big Ten Tournament? "I did not really get to watch much. I was watching the championship game, but then I had practice after the first or second inning. When I did watch them I saw that they played with a lot of energy and they had a lot of passion for the game, but they also have a lot of respect for it which I really liked."
What did you think of the crowds at TD Ameritrade Park? "I thought that was pretty awesome. Usually for college baseball, especially in the Big Ten because my brother played for Purdue, they would be lucky if they got a couple hundred to a thousand fans. Watching Nebraska play, their fan support is awesome."
What do you see in Nebraska's future? "I think it's looking really bright. Obviously, Coach Erstad and the other coaches are really good. They know what they're doing and the guys are buying into the program. So I think the future looks really bright."
How did/is your spring season go/going? "It's going pretty well, but our team is having a little rough time here. We weren't doing very well in the beginning, but then we picked things up. We currently have a three game losing streak, so hopefully we can get back on the right track here for the tournament coming up. We have two more conference games and then we start the [state] tournament. Actually, I have no idea what my stats are, but I'm doing pretty good. I have had shoulder problems this year so I haven't been pitching at all, but it's starting to come back around so I might be able to pitch some when the tournament comes around. I think I'm doing pretty well hitting, but like I said, I don't know any of my stats. I've been seeing the ball pretty well and putting some good swings on it."
* On Football Scholarship