University of Evansville head baseball coach Wes Carroll has announced the signing of 12 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play for the Purple Aces in 2017.
“I would like to thank Coach Fick and Coach Mahon on their hard work and dedication to recruit a big and talented class of future Aces. They did an outstanding job of identifying and recruiting such a great class for our program,” Carroll said. “We are graduating a large talented senior group so we needed a big class of immediate contributors and I believe this class will fill those needs. This recruiting class has 4 Pitchers and 8 Position Players. All of the pitchers have tremendous upside and the position players are very athletic and versatile. I’m very excited to see this class compete over the coming years in an Aces uniform. ”
Conner Hasecuster comes to UE from Shelbyville, Ind.. Hasecuster is a four-year letterwinner in baseball and a three-year player football at Shelbyville High School. Hasecuster was named to the all-conference team as both a sophomore and a junior. He was able to help his team win a conference championship during the 2014 campaign.
“Conner is one of the best SS we saw in this 2016 class. He is a plus defender and has a lot of potential hitting from the left side of the plate. What I like most about Conner is that he has tremendous makeup and the intangibles to be a force in the Missouri Valley Conference.”
Jimmy Day –INF
James Day joins the Aces from Barrington, Ill. The brother of former Aces pitcher Johnny Day, the infielder hails from Barrington High School. His best year at Barrington featured a .425 BA, 1.129 OPS, 5 home runs, 23 stolen bases, 11 HBP, 32 RBI, and 42 runs scored. Was named all-conference, all-area, and was selected to Team IL.
"Jimmy brings exceptional offensive prowess to our lineup. His plus bat speed and consistent bat path project him into the middle of our lineup for the upcoming years. His athletic ability gives him the opportunity to play multiple positions in the infield. We are excited for Jimmy to be on campus as he is the younger brother of recent baseball alum Johnny Day."
David Ellis, who is a local product, comes from nearby Princeton, Ind. The right-hander was a four-year player in both tennis and baseball. He was named all-county in baseball as a sophomore. Ellis also boasts a successful tennis career, reaching sectionals with his team the last three years.
“David is a local player that will wear Evansville across his chest with pride. He is a very athletic RHP that already sits in the low 90’s. He has the potential to be a front line arm in our program and be a dominant pitcher in the MVC. I really look forward to seeing him reach his potential in our pitching program.”
Right-handed pitcher Adam Lukas heads to Evansville from Janesville, Wis. Lukas attends Grafton High School and has lettered in baseball three years along with tennis once. Thru his junior season, Lukas has played in 20 games, making 14 starts. Over his 83 innings of work, Lukas has a 2.04 ERA with 93 strikeouts. Lukas’ record checks in at 10-6 with a pair of saves.
"Adam is an outstanding prospect, he possesses the ability to reach 90 mph with his fastball, and should continue to develop not only his fastball velocity and command throughout his time in our program, but also his secondary pitches as he has a tremendous work ethic. He is a tall right handed pitcher with a loose arm and strong, sturdy frame. He will compete early on for innings on our pitching staff. We are excited to welcome Adam into our baseball family!"
Jake Sperry is a shortstop from Appleton, Wis. Sperry has played four seasons of basketball and two in baseball at Chippewa Falls Senior High School. During his 2015 campaign, Sperry hit .440, had a .515 OBP, a .643 SLG. He hit two home runs, drove in 16 runs, and scored 23 runs. Sperry helped his team get to the sectional championship during the 2015 season.
“Jake is a quick twitch athlete that is very versatile. He showcases great defensive actions and plus bat speed at the plate. He is a hard-nosed player that plays the game with grit. He is our type of player and is a great addition to our program.”
A native of Cincinnati, Ben Elsen played baseball at Saint Xavier High School. He also spent time playing for the Cincinnati Hornets, which was his club team. Playing primarily at shortstop, Elsen comes from an athletic family as his brother, David, plays soccer at Baldwin Wallace University and his aunt and uncle each played at the Division I level at Bowling Green.
"Ben brings one of a kind athletic ability to our roster. His reliant and sure handed defensive abilities make him a key component of what Purple Aces baseball is all about. His short compact swing combined with his speed will give him the opportunity to hit at the top of the order. Ben comes from a very successful high school program, St. Xavier High School, which will set him up for success at UE."
Joliet, Ill. product Brendan Krob comes to the program from Joliet, Ill. where he has spent his high school career playing at Argo Community HS. Baseball runs in his blood as his brother Ryan plays for the University of Chicago and another brother, Dustin, plays at Campbell University. The catcher is a 3-time all-conference player and hit .405 last season. He was named the #10 catcher in the state of Illinois by PBR and was rated 82nd overall.
“We were very fortunate to find Brendan on the recruiting trail as he fills a major need behind the plate. He has tremendous upside as a catcher and hitter in our program. He comes from a baseball family with two older brothers playing at the collegiate level so he knows what it takes. I’m anxious to get him on campus next fall.”
The Aces added outfielder Dalton Horstmeier of Columbia, Mo. At Jefferson College, Horstmeier boasted a batting average of .493 with 3 home runs and 37 RBIs. While at Fulton High School, Horstmeier was all-state and all-conference in three seasons. He set the doubles record at Fulton and tied the hits record with 43.
"Dalton comes to us from a very strong program at Jefferson College where he has had a lot of success. As a transfer we anticipate him to be able to contribute right away and compete for at bats in the middle of our line-up. Dalton is a tremendous competitor who has a real enthusiasm for the game of baseball! His attitude and ability make him an excellent fit for our Purple Aces family. We are glad to welcome Dalton aboard!"
Justin Hayden is a pitcher from Rend Lake Community College. Hayden is originally from Murray, Ky. where he attended Graves County High School. The right-hander lettered in baseball five years and basketball four. He boasted a record of 9-1 with a 1.71 ERA during his senior campaign. He also helped Graves County get to the Kentucky State Baseball Tournament during his senior season.
"Justin is a strike throwing right handed pitcher who we believe can get a ton of outs for us in the Missouri Valley Conference. His drive and determination will give him an opportunity to grab a hold of some major innings for us right away. As a junior college transfer, Justin's proven ability to command the strike zone with multiple pitches is what make him a desirable asset to our pitching staff. We are thrilled that Justin has chosen us as the place he wants to continue his educational and baseball career!"
Nathan Croner, who is from Independence, Mo., is 6’6 left-handed pitcher who will bring his talents to Evansville. Croman attends Truman High School where he has lettered in baseball and basketball twice. In baseball he was named 2nd team all-conference. Croner’s best performance to date features a two-hit shutout.
"We are truly excited to welcome Nathan onto our pitching staff and into our our program! He is a tall mid 80's left handed pitcher and as he continues to develop, it is not unlikely to see a velocity bump in the near future. With the chance to see Nathan pitch a number of times throughout the recruiting process, one thing was clear, he loves competing at the game of baseball! We can't wait to get him and the rest of this recruiting class on campus. Nathan will compete for innings early on in his career."
Kenton Crews is a local product who attended Heritage Hills High School. Crews is a three-sport student-athlete with four letters in football, two in basketball and four in baseball. He was the recipient of the Golden Glove Award for baseball in 2015 also garnered all-conference honors. An MLB Area Code Invitee in 2015, Crews earned numerous awards in all three of his sports, highlighted by the TriStateHomepage Most Valuable Player in the fourth week of the 2015 season.
“Kenton is a local 3 sport standout with rare athleticism. His overall tools and athleticism will develop in our system to be a dynamic baseball player. I really look forward to seeing him focus on one sport year round because he has a tremendous ceiling in this game. Kenton will be an outstanding student-athlete for us here at UE.”
Sean Cary is an infielder who comes to UE from Centralia, Ill. A 4-sport athlete, Cary played baseball in all four high school years while also spending time in golf, soccer and basketball. A conference honorable mention in 2015, Cary led Centralia High School in batting average and on-base percentage as a junior. His sister, Erin, is a former swimmer for the Purple Aces and currently works for the department as the Graphic Design Specialist.
“Sean really stood out at our Prospect Camp as a strong defender. While at our camp he gobbled everything hit his direction. He projects out to be an outstanding athlete and we look forward to seeing his continued development in our program. “