Nebraska and Creighton are rivals in most sports, and baseball is no exception. But the Bluejays gave the Huskers a bit of an assist in scoring the newest member of Darin Erstad's 2015 recruiting class.
Creighton was pursuing left-handed pitcher Ryan Connolly of Douglas County High School in Castle Rock, Colo., who came to Omaha for a camp. On the way back home, Connolly stopped by Nebraska to check it out. He ended up getting in contact with pitching coach Ted Silva, who later saw him pitch at a showcase.
Connolly was in town for the St. John's game last Sunday, which Nebraska won 14-7 in front of 3,705 fans (the largest crowd of the young season), and this week decided to commit to the Huskers.
"I really like the coaches, coach Erstad and coach Silva," Connolly said. "I really enjoyed the school. I also like the academic setting - it seems like a great place to learn. The baseball game I went to, that was quite a crowd. The facilities are some of the best I've ever seen. And it's not too far from home, and that's important to me."
Connolly becomes the fourth member of the Huskers' 2015 class, joining infielders Angelo Altavilla and Alex Henwood and outfielder Trey Beckman.
Connolly, a Red Sox fan, remembers watching Erstad play in the major leagues, and the coach's wealth of baseball knowledge made an impression on the pitcher.
"His baseball mind really stood out to me," Connolly said. "I really enjoyed that. Both of them (Erstad and Silva) are great guys, and there was no pressure. They really wanted to know what they can do for me. I think I can learn a lot from both of them and become a good baseball player."
Connolly is a 6-foot-4, 185-pound lefty whose fastball ranges from 84 to 86 miles per hour, and he's working to put on more weight in an effort to increase his velocity. He also possesses a curveball and a changeup.
"Obviously, I want to become a starter (at Nebraska) and make a big impact on the team," Connolly said. "But I'll work with however they need me and do whatever role they need me in to win."
Connolly was talking with several other schools and took some visits, but in the end, he knew choosing Nebraska was the right call.
"I got the chance to go out to some of the other schools I was looking at, but I just felt really comfortable at Nebraska," he said. "I liked the coaches, the people… when I made the decision, I knew it was the right place to go."