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Nebraska baseball lands infielder, pitcher Austin Berggren

Nebraska baseball lands infielder, pitcher Austin Berggren

Austin Berggren had seen enough.

The Olathe (Kansas) East multisport standout clicked with Nebraska pitching coach Jeff Christy from their first conversation last year. He watched the Huskers win the Big Ten baseball title and push the country’s top-ranked team to the limit in the postseason.

Berggren on Saturday made official what had long been a gut feeling — he is ready to be a Husker. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound right-hander committed to become the eighth member of NU’s Class of 2022.

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“I’ve always been a big fan of the rebuild situation,” Berggren told The World-Herald. “Coach (Will) Bolt has done an amazing job with that. I think that’s where I want to be, is part of a program that can only go up from here.”

Armed with a fastball that touches 90 mph and complementary pitches in a slider, curveball and change-up, Berggren mowed through hitters during the spring. The pitching instructor for his club team, the Olathe-based Natural Baseball Academy, is a former teammate of Christy’s at Lincoln Southeast High School, Brian Knippelmeyer.

Berggren pulled the trigger on an offer he received last month and will arrive on campus on academic scholarship and as a preferred walk-on. Other suitors included Wichita State, Marshall, Jackson and various local junior colleges.

The prospect is also Nebraska’s second in the 2022 class who is a quarterback from the Sunflower State, joining Mikey Pauley of Blue Valley Northwest. Pauley — who committed nearly a year ago as a multiposition prospect — received his first Power Five football offers to play quarterback in recent weeks from Kansas State and Kansas. Bolt and his staff also previously recruited a starting quarterback out of Texas in Brice Matthews, who was the team’s starting second baseman as a freshman this spring.

Berggren has come to believe his own college career will be on a mound.

“You have to prove to me you can hit because I know I’m better than you,” Berggren said. “I had the thought of playing college football, but then I saw where my talent is really at and where I can really see myself playing. And that’s baseball.”

Recruiting services don’t know much about the incoming prep senior — he doesn’t have a profile on Perfect Game or other sites. He recorded the top squat weight (405 pounds) on his football team and was an honorable-mention all-state pick in Kansas Class 6A, its largest.

The anonymity suits the future Husker just fine.

“I’m overlooked,” Berggren said. “I always feel like I have something to prove, even if it’s just to myself.”​

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