Jaren Brucher found the right connection with the University of Central Missouri baseball team.

Jaren Brucher found the right connection with the University of Central Missouri baseball team.

With other schools taking notice of the talented Geneseo pitcher, the Mules fostered a real connection with Brucher during the recruiting process.

A two-sport athlete last season, Brucher liked how the Mules spent time following his high-school career on the gridiron and on the mound.

“They knew about me,” Brucher said. “They knew Geneseo was a football town, and they did research on me. It seemed like they really invested in me.”

During visits to the Warrensburg, Mo., Brucher felt a dynamic similar to the teams he’s played for in Geneseo.

“The whole baseball team there seems a lot like the football team here,” Brucher said. “That made it feel like home to me.”

The Central Missouri baseball program took notice of Brucher at a showcase at Lindenwood University last summer.

Brucher stayed in contact with the team and assistant coach Alex Backhaus, and after a tournament game in Kansas City, he was ready to make it official.

“I didn’t think anything else would really pull me away,” Brucher said. “I was ready to commit.”

The Mules have a strong baseball tradition winning 13 conference titles in Division II since 2000, appearing in 25 NCAA baseball regionals and averaging more than 45 wins a season since 2000.

From 2000 to 2009, the Mules were the winningest team in any division of the NCAA by number of victories (508) with the highest winning percentage (.814).

A senior-to-be, Brucher was a part of the 2017 Maple Leafs team that reached the sectional championship game for the second time in program history.

Brucher worked a 12 pitch at-bat before driving in the game-tying run to extend Geneseo’s season in the sectional semifinals.

This past season, he returned from a toe injury to pitch Geneseo to a 1-0 regional quarterfinal victory over IVC.

Brucher pitched a no-hitter into the fifth inning, and he finished off his one-hit performance with 12 strikeouts, no walks and one batter hit by a pitch.

While playing at Geneseo, Brucher believes playing varsity the past two season has given him balance.

He was a part of a team with high expectations in 2017 and a part of a team that had to grind for each win last season.

“It’s made me appreciate things, and I’ve grown a whole lot over the years,” Brucher said.

He’s spent the summer playing for the Geneseo Senior Legion team and the Illinois Steel travel team out of Peoria.

Growing up with the Geneseo players, Brucher thinks his experience playing with the Illinois Steel has given him an expectation of what the college atmosphere will be like.

“You are going to play every day with guys who genuinely love playing baseball,” Brucher said. “I feel that’s what it is going to be like in college and I’m really looking forward to it.”