Husker Baseball Signs Three Players

University of Nebraska Baseball Coach Mike Anderson announced Wednesday the signings of three student-athletes to National Letters-of-Intent to play baseball for the Husker program next season. The trio includes a pair of right-handed pitchers in Casey Hauptman (Omaha) and Aaron Pribanic (Plano, Texas) and catcher Drew Gray (Harrisonville, Mo.).

Hauptman, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound right-hander, played his high school ball at Millard South High School for Coach Trevor Longe. A two-time first-team All-Nebraska selection, Hauptman compiled a 13-2 record and an ERA under 2.00 over the last two seasons. As a senior, Hauptman went 6-2 with a 1.53 ERA and an impressive 44-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio for the Patriots, who went 21-10 on the season. Hauptman earned All-Nebraska honors for the first time as a junior, when he went a perfect 7-0 with a 1.96 ERA. In addition to his exploits on the diamond, Hauptman also started at quarterback, setting school records for passing yards (2,034) and completions (166) last fall en route to second-team Super-State honors from the Lincoln Journal Star. Hauptman, who had offers from several Division II schools in football, selected Nebraska over Creighton.

"Casey was one of the most improved players in the state over the past year and his progression was very noticeable in the times that we saw him as a senior," Anderson said. "He not only has an advanced understanding on how to pitch, but also has a strong makeup and character. Casey is someone who we will see tremendous growth in our program."

Pribanic went a combined 8-2 in two seasons at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College for Coach Kyle Crookes. As a sophomore, the 6-foot-5, 200-pound right-hander went 6-1 with a 3.33 ERA, striking out 64 over 67.2 innings of work for the Blue Dragons, who finished 30-25 on the season. He led Hutchinson CC in innings, strikeouts and complete games in 2007, as he fired two complete games and held foes to a .234 average.  In his first year at Hutchinson CC, he went 2-1 with a 3.88 ERA in nine starts, striking out 54 over 48.2 innings and holding opponents to a .215 batting average. Pribanic is currently pitching for Brainerd in the Northwoods League, where he tossed a complete-game five hitter in a 2-1 victory over Duluth in his season debut on Monday.

"Aaron is another young man who we have followed closely over the year," Anderson said. "He comes from a great junior college program that has produced players who have been successful in the Big 12. He was a late bloomer and is just beginning to reach his potential. He consistently throws in the low 90s and could see a number of roles for us next year."

Gray comes to Nebraska from Longview (Mo.) Community College, where he helped Coach Clint Culbertson and the Lakers to a 41-18 record and the NCJAA Division II national title in 2007.  A 27th-round pick by the Texas Rangers in the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Gray earned first-team NJCAA All-America honors by hitting .386 with 14 homers, 16 doubles and 69 RBIs during his sophomore campaign. The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder ranked third in NJCAA Division II in RBIs and fifth in homers in his only season at Longview CC.  Gray began his collegiate career at Arkansas-Little Rock, where he hit .250 in 39 contests for the Trojans in 2006. He was a three-time all-district selection at Harrison (Mo.) High School, hitting .432 with two homers, 25 RBIs and 11 doubles as a senior. Gray also looked at Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Western Carolina before choosing Nebraska.

"Drew meets a number of needs we were looking for," Anderson said. "He is a strong, physical player with some power and also has the mental makeup you look for behind the plate. He adds to a strong catching corps and could challenge for the starting job and hit in the middle of the lineup."

Nebraska finished with a 32-27 record and advanced to its seventh NCAA Regional in the past eight years in 2007, reaching the championship round of the NCAA Tempe Regional.

Name    Pos     Ht.     Wt.     B/T     Hometown (Previous Schools)
Casey Hauptman  RHP     6-4     205     R/R     Omaha, Neb. (Millard South)
Aaron Pribanic  RHP     6-5     200     R/R     Plano, Texas (Hutchinson CC/East)
Drew Grey       C       6-5     215     R/R     Harrison, Mo. (Longview CC/UALR/Harrisonville)

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