April 18, 2012
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By Andrea Bejarano, UCFAthletics.com
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - When you are as passionate as Chris Taladay is about playing baseball, a serious injury could mean a lot of things. During his sophomore year at UCF, the 21-year old third baseman/catcher suffered a season-ending injury that as he explains, was a scary situation.
"At that point exactly, I knew that something wasn't right," Taladay said. "It felt something break or pull out. I was thinking that it might have been something from my last surgery (labrum surgery on his left side) and I thought I had to get all that stuff re-done and go through that all over again."
Last season, while UCF was playing against USF, Taladay hit the groundball to the second baseman and the first baseman clipped Talady's leg, flipping him over and making him land on his shoulder, resulting in the breaking of his collar bone. The road to recovery was anything but easy.
"It's one of those things that you have to go through and give everything you got to push yourself to get better and push yourself to get through it so you can play for this season."
The original recovery for a broken collar bone is eight weeks but Taladay had a set back where it did not heal correctly so he had to go back in and get surgery a second time which set him back another 8 weeks.
"I had to do physical therapy everyday with our trainer CJ (Chris Joseph), and every day I was doing something baseball related and as much as I could do," Taladay explained. "I was limited to certain things that I was not allowed to do as far as swinging, but I had to try to stay in shape so I could be ready for this season."
Although he's had a long road to recovery, Taladay is UCF's leading hitter with 59 (.351 BA) on the year and is coming up with timely hits while batting No. 4 behind his teammate, and good friend, D.J. Hicks.
After the team lost slugger Jonathan Griffin after last season, Hicks explained how important Taladay has become.
"I really needed a guy that was clutch to protect me in the lineup," Hicks said. "He is coming up big every time we need him."
Hicks is not the only one with high praise for one of the nation's best hitters.
"Chris [Taladay] is one of the most clutch players in the entire country," head coach Terry Rooney has said several times. "When you've got a guy on base, that's the guy you want up there."
The Windermere native has delivered all year for the Knights with his team-leading 19 multi-hit games, including nine three-hit performances. In conference play, Taladay has taken his game to an even higher level with a team-leading .404 batting average with 23 hits and eight RBI.
With his injury completely healed and his numbers getting better by the game, Taladay has one goal in mind... "to get to Omaha and win it."