Prep Baseball Report

College Crosscheck: Week 12- Illinois State, Indiana State, Miami (FL), Portland, Southern Illinois

David Seifert
Director of College Scouting


This week’s Scouting Trail is a compilation of an in-person look at Indiana State hosting Belmont, Ohio State at Illinois and then back to the Missouri Valley for Southern Illinois at Illinois State. Also included are live stream looks at the Miami Hurricanes Iron Man rotation and Portland’s Friday Night Ace.

Indiana State vs Belmont

With the stands at near capacity and the Sycamores already experiencing a near regional type of atmosphere in Terre Haute, they also looked to be in top form with a 15-5 run-rule win in the series opener. Friday night ace lefty Jared Spencer set the tone early, striking out five of six in the first two innings, but then unraveled in the third inning after throwing just 62 total pitches. His fastball maintained its velocity in the 92-95 range, but what started as fairly low effort and easy velo, ended with more effort and wildness. He lost control of the strike zone, walking the first four batters of the third inning and was then pulled after a fly out and a run-scoring single. He worked exclusively from the stretch and also flashed an average gyro-spin slider at 83-85 mph. It’s typically his best pitch, and one that he’s thrown for strikes 63.5% of the time this season. His breaker also has a 44.4 Whiff% (86th percentile). On the evening, Spencer allowed only one hit, but walked four to go along with five strikeouts. For the season the 6-foot-3 southpaw has struck out 52 in 36.1 innings. With a fastball/slider combo and more control than true command he has a reliever’s profile and will likely be considered for selection during the middle of Day Two.

Sycs third baseman Mike Sears made me laugh out loud as he drilled a hanging curveball about as far as one can be hit. His first inning moonshot was a majestic blast to left field into the third row of lights on the tower.

Sears added a second home run with a backspun oppo taco to right center field, further boosting the Sycamores lead. He finished the evening 3-for-3 with six RBI and for the season the third baseman has 18 home runs and 54 RBI.

The Sycamores top positional prospect for this year’s draft is shortstop Randal Diaz. The leadoff man has a dozen round-trippers of his own and provides an immediate threat for Indiana State in what is a deep and talented, veteran lineup. He’s strong and balanced in the batter’s box with solid plate discipline. Maybe I saw him on a bad day last spring, but his bat speed was at least a grade better on this latest look. It’s not elite bat speed, but it is now better than average and an impressive improvement. Defensively, Diaz has smooth actions with solid range and an average arm. It’s a flexible arm with enough strength to make throws from all angles which adds to his range, and he’s also a tremendous leaper. He profiles to shift to the other side of second base where he will likely become an offense-first second baseman and second half of Day Two draft prospect.

Sophomore right-hander Jacob Pruitt relieved Spencer in the third inning. The 2025 draft-eligible prospect continues to return to form after an early season injury kept him out for several weeks in March and early April. With a low-90s sinking fastball from a three-quarters release point, there’s more control than command, but with a late, sharp-breaking slider as his out pitch, Pruit struck out three in 3.2 innings. He has also struck out 42 in 26.1 innings to go along with a stellar 2.05 ERA this spring.

Ohio State at Illinois

The Buckeyes’ lefthander Gavin Bruni was the main scouting attraction on a Saturday afternoon start at Illinois Field. Last summer in the Cape he had a rough time, finishing with a 10.63 ERA in 11 innings with 11 walks, but the lefthander had a 4.87 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 57.1 innings as a weekend starter at Ohio State last spring. Against Illinois on Saturday his fastball ranged from 90-93 mph with scattered control. He’s big (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) and strong and simply outmuscles the baseball. Bruni also throws both a slider and curveball, and his best pitch on this look was an average changeup. The sinking, low-80s offering was also deceptive as it’s delivered with fastball arm speed. A similar speed slider was his main offering to left handed batters, while he stuck with a mid-70s curve against right-handers. Opponents are batting .313 against his fastball compared to just .193 and .154 vs his slider and curveball, respectively. His curve has a 41.2 Whiff% which resides in the 84th percentile of college baseball this season. Pitch quality is not a concern of scouts for Bruni, but control is. He has walked 41 in 48.1 innings this spring to go along with 51 strikeouts.

Southern Illinois at Illinois State

Nearly a dozen area scouts were in the stands at Illinois State University to see the SIU Salukis’ righthander Aidan Foeller. The juco transfer sat out last spring from Tommy John surgery and began to draw some scouting interest this past fall with a fastball reportedly touching 97. It was only up to 94 on my look on Sunday, but it’s not a normal fastball. With a spin rate in the 2500s, good spin efficiency and good carry to the plate the pitch plays above its velocity. It has a 25.4% Whiff rate this season which ranks in the 87th percentile (average is 18%). He pairs his No. 1 with a usable low-80s slider that slows bats a bit, and has more of a cutter shape. It was mostly a below average pitch that did flash average on a backfoot strikeout to a Redbirds’ left handed hitter. Foeller is a Day Three draft prospect.

The Salukis’ top positional prospect for this year’s draft is Jake Allgeyer. A converted third baseman who moved over to shortstop due to injuries, has limited range but consistently makes the routine play. The 6-foot, 200-pound switch-hitter also has some pop in his bat from both sides (more from the right) and is wired to compete and grind. His hustle is obvious and contagious. Allgeyer had three hits; home run, double, single to go along with three RBI in Sunday’s contest. 

Illinois State has a similar type of senior prospect in Auggie Rasmussen. The right fielder made a spectacular diving catch on defense and added three hits which included a home run and two doubles, as well as five RBI during Sunday’s game. The Redbirds’ top prospect is 2025 outfielder Daniel Pacella. Although he’s best known for his left handed power, he’s been known to grab a highlight reel catch… 

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound power hitter will enter next season as a top 100 prospect in our 2025 draft rankings. He’s currently batting .335 with eight home runs this season. 

BYU at Miami 

The Hurricanes boast a trio of starters who have posted each and every weekend to date this season. Gage Ziehl leads the rotation on Fridays. Already a well-known prospect, the righthander had a career night during week seven against Clemson, striking out 15, not walking a single batter and allowing just two runs on seven hits in a complete game performance. Of the 118 pitches that Ziehl threw, 88 of them were strikes. For the season he’s now posted a 3.95 ERA in 12 starts covering 73 innings. A Hurricane workhorse and bulldog on the mound, he’s logged 200 career innings in two-plus seasons in Coral Gables. Against BYU Ziehl struck out ten and walked two in eight stellar innings. The compact built, 6-foot, 220-pound right-hander pitched at 92-93 and ran his fastball up to 96 while gathering outs with his wicked slider. It’s a near equal mix between these two pitches, and he’ll add an occasional changeup as well. He has thrown his mid-80s slider for a strike 72.6% of the time this season (97th percentile) and his chase rate on the pitch is 36.5% which ranks in the 94th percentile. Ziehl is also very consistent with his command of the pitch, locating it down and away to right handed hitters. He will likely be selected in rounds four-to-six. 

Lefthander Rafe Schlesinger earned the win on Saturday with nine strikeouts and two walks in six innings. His stuff is similar to Ziehl’s only from the other side and the 6-foot-3, 200-pound lefthander has the ability to throw both his fastball and slider to both sides of the plate. His heater averages 92-93, will touch 95-96 and the slider sits 83-85. Again like Ziehl, Schlesinger relies on his fastball/slider combo the majority of the time. His changeup is by far his third pitch, throwing only 5.5% of the time. Schlesinger will also likely be selected in rounds four-to-six. 

Juco transfer Herick Hernandez has a live arm with stuff that plays above average when his command is on and he’s struck out 76 in 59 innings to date this season. Against BYU he sat 90-92 and touched 94 with a riding fastball that carried to the plate with up to 23” of induced vertical break (IVB). He has so much natural movement that he struggles to control it at times, but when he’s locked in, he’s tough to catch and even tougher to hit, especially since he also hides the ball well. He throws both a slider and curveball, to go along with a firm changeup. His curve ranged from 74-77 mph with a spin rate in excess of 2600 rpm while his slider has even better metrics with a 2800+ spin rate at 80-83 mph. The two pitches rarely blend together and are distinct offerings. Hernandez is also very athletic and fields his position well. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound strong-bodied lefthander pitched into the sixth inning against BYU, striking out six and walking two. Hernandez was chosen in the 19th round last summer by the Reds and is a Day Three prospect once again this year. 


After a stellar sophomore season when he swung between the rotation (eight starts) and the bullpen (five appearances) to record a 6-0 W-L with a 2.02 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 58 innings, Nick Brink is attracting plenty of attention from the scouting industry this season. Brink pitches from a high slot with pitchability/command over stuff profile and pitches in the low-90s with his fastball. It sat 93-94 early and then more 91-92 as he settled in. He can spot it all around the zone, but tends to live up in the zone and let his heater ride above bats. This location also plays right into the remainder of his arsenal with a slider/cutter, curve and changeup to complete the four-pitch assortment. He’s able to change shapes on his cutter, slider, curve mix, but his best breaking is a mid-80s slider. It’s an often-used weapon that he’s thrown 32% of the time this spring and has generated a 51.7% Whiff rate (96th percentile). He’s able to pick and expand the outer edge against same sided hitters. His changeup is even better with a 99th percentile grade on the back of a 58.8 Whiff% and plus command. It’s his primary weapon against left handed batters. Overall, the mix of breakers, a low-90s fastball and a plus changeup all give Brink fifth-to-seventh round prospect value in this year’s draft.