As college baseball’s super regional matchups were officially set following Stanford’s come-from-behind walk-off win over Texas State last Monday night, several Huskers continue and are preparing to suit up for their teams in summer collegiate baseball leagues as they look to develop their skills.
After a disappointing season where Nebraska finished with a 23-30 overall record—and a 10-14 mark against Big Ten competition—while not qualifying for the eight-team Big Ten Tournament in Omaha, its roster has seen movement. Unofficially, nine players have departed or have started the process of leaving the program since the season ended.
Outfielders Cam Chick, Tyler Palmer, Leighton Banjoff, infielder Jack Steil, pitchers Koty Frank, Braxton Bragg, Ethan Bradford, Quinn Mason and catcher Nick Wimmers have all entered their names in the transfer portal. Chick, a team captain, originally decided to forgo his fifth year of eligibility, but on Tuesday posted on social media that he is instead entering the portal to play one more season.
Thank you Nebraska pic.twitter.com/mPytN0HMD8
— Cam Chick (@CChick_13) June 7, 2022
Frank, one of the best arms on the pitching staff and a seven-game starter, owned a 3.81 earned-run average in 14 appearances (59 innings) and a 70-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Bragg, a junior right-hander from Missouri who announced on Tuesday he was transferring to Dallas Baptist University, had a 3.28 ERA in 17 appearances with one start and had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 37-to-8. Banjoff, an outfielder from Ohio, played in 47 games with 38 starts but batted just .233 with 31 hits, two home runs and 17 RBIs.
On Wednesday, Palmer, a local product from Columbus, Nebraska, who was mostly used as a pinch runner this past season, announced he was transferring to Southeast Community College.
On the flip side, head coach Will Bolt and his staff have unofficially added 18 newcomers to the team for next season, including 10 junior-college transfers, seven high schoolers and one Division I transfer—outfielder Casey Burnham from Kansas. Burnham is from Grand Island, Nebraska.
Here is the list of JUCOs: infielders Blake Mozley of Johnson County (Kan.) Community College and Bryce Hughes of Alvin (Texas) Community College; catchers Zachary Johnson of Southeast Community College and Ben Columbus of Wharton County (Texas) Junior College; outfielder Dayvin Johnson of Iowa Western Community College and Cole Evans of Parkland (Illinois) College; outfielder/pitcher Trey Frahm of College of Southern Nevada and pitchers Brett Sears of Iowa Central Community College, Matt Dreher of Northeast Community College and Ryan Sleeper of Wabash Valley (Illinois) College.
Here are the incoming freshmen who will join the team this fall: left-handed pitcher Caleb Clark (Orillia, Ontario, Canada), right-handed pitchers Brandon Lundquist (Millard North), Sam Novotny (Millard West) and Austin Berggren (Olathe, Kansas), infielder Dylan Carey (Castle Rock, Colorado), outfielder Hayden Lewis (Yutan, Nebraska) and catcher Mikey Pauley (Overland Park, Kansas).
Huskers playing summer ball
Seven Huskers are playing in the Northwoods League, including Josh Caron (Madison Mallards), Drew Christo (La Crosse Loggers), Core Jackson (Battle Creek Battle Jacks), Brice Matthews (St. Cloud Rox), Luke Sartori (Kokomo Jackrabbits), Dreher (Willmar Stingers) and Frahm (La Crosse Loggers).
In eight games with the Mallards, Caron was batting .375 with 12 hits, three home runs and six RBIs. His three homers ranked second in the league. In five games with the Loggers, Frahm, an Elkhorn native, was batting .231 with three hits and two RBIs in 13 at-bats. Christo, also an Elkhorn native, saw action on the mound in one game so far for the Loggers—he threw three innings and struck out five batters against three walks while allowing four hits and two earned runs.
In two games with St. Cloud, Matthews had two hits and one RBI in nine at-bats. Sartori was hitting .242 in eight games with Kokomo and had eight hits and two RBIs. Dreher pitched two innings for Willmar and had three strikeouts and four walks.
Three Huskers are playing in the Alaska Baseball League, including Garrett Anglim (Anchorage Bucs), Jackson Brockett (Anchorage) and CJ Hood (Mat-Su Miners). Hood has started one game and tossed 1.1 innings with four walks and one strikeout.
There are two Huskers playing in the Coastal Plain League (Efry Cervantes and Mason Ornelas, Wilson Tobs), Sunflower Collegiate League (Matt Guthmiller and Corbin Hawkins, Hutchinson Monarchs) and MINK Collegiate League (Will Walsh, Clarinda A’s; Carey, St. Joseph Mustangs).
In six games and 22 at-bats with the Tobs, Cervantes was hitting .409 with nine hits and four RBIs. In two games with one start on the mound with Wilson, Ornelas had a 1.80 ERA and has struck out five against just one walk. He had only allowed one earned run and four hits.
There is just one Husker playing in the Cape Cod League (Max Anderson, Wareham Gatemen), Texas Collegiate League (Chandler Benson, Brazos Valley Bombers), California Collegiate League (Griffin Everitt, Santa Barbara Foresters), Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League (Luke Jessen, Metro South County Braves), Prospect League (Gabe Swansen, Quincy Gems) and Independence League (Lewis, Fremont Moo).
In six games with Quincy, Swansen was hitting .318 with four RBIs. Lewis, who’s from Yutan, Nebraska, had a .250 average at the plate with three hits and one RBI in 12 at-bats with Fremont.