Gray brothers to continue careers together at Arkansas

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Friday, July 13, 2018
Arkansas baseball commits Evan and Drew Gray
Photo by Submitted photo
Arkansas baseball commits Evan and Drew Gray

FAYETTEVILLE — Drew Gray was already excited to play baseball at Arkansas. On Thursday, he had even more reason to be.

A 2021 Arkansas commit, Drew was ecstatic when his older brother, Evan, called and told him of his plans to commit to the Razorbacks. Evan, a right-handed pitcher, becomes the 17th member of the Razorbacks’ 2019 recruiting class.

He is the No. 119 rated prospect in Illinois, according to Prep Baseball Report Illinois.

“In my mind it was something I just couldn’t pass up,” Evan said Friday. “The opportunity as a baseball player to play there … visiting there yesterday, it’s what felt right and that’s where I wanted to go.

“Even though I didn’t want my brother to be a big decision-maker, it definitely weighed in for sure. To have the opportunity to play at that level with your brother is a once in a lifetime kind of thing.”

The brothers, from Swansea, Ill., east of St. Louis, both made an impact for Belleville East High School and head coach Ryan Wiggs in 2018. Drew played and impressed as a freshman last season while Evan provided the Lancers with quality relief appearances down the stretch.

Evan, who’s also strong academically, is expected to be one of Belleville East’s top arms in 2019, Wiggs said. His velocity has been clocked at 90 mph.

“As far as Arkansas is concerned, they like his arm,” Wiggs added. “He’s got good velocity, a sharp breaking ball. He’s got the tools for sure. If he throws the breaking ball for strikes, it’s hard to hit.

“But during conference season for us, he got some big saves and came in in some tough spots against Belleville West, which is a big rival, and Edwardsville and won the game. He showed me a lot.”

He finished with a 1-4 record in five starts on the mound last season for Belleville East, according to statistics complied by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He struck out 50 and walked 37 in more than 35 total innings over 14 appearances. He batted .207 with one home run and 18 RBI as well.

Drew, an outfielder, hit .383 with 12 doubles and a home run as a freshman. He struck out only 10 times in 95 plate appearances.

“We’re a 4A high school in Illinois and play in a good conference, and Drew just earned (playing time) every day in practice,” Wiggs said. “He would produce, he would hit and track down balls. We liked the way he threw on the mound, too.”

Wiggs described the brothers’ relationship as a friendly rivalry. In a scrimmage prior to last season, Evan was on the mound and Drew was on deck when the final out was made. Drew ran toward the coaching staff begging for a chance to face his brother.

“They challenge each other in a way that’s great,” Wiggs said. “But they’re each other’s biggest fans. I’m looking forward to this year, too. They’re best friends, and I mean that sincerely.”

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