June 6, 2012
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By Eric DeSalvo
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - It was another memorable day for the UCF baseball program as centerfielder Ronnie Richardson, first baseman D.J. Hicks and right-handed pitcher Matt Collins were selected during the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Within a 20-minute span around the 12 o'clock hour, Richardson and Hicks each heard their names on the league conference call by the San Diego Padres and Minnesota Twins, respectively. Richardson went in the 16th round while Hicks was tabbed shortly after in the 17th. Collins was selected in the 37th round by the L.A. Angels of Anaheim.
UCF saw a total of six student-athletes selected in 2012 to make it the eighth year in program history that five or more Knights have been drafted in one year since 1979. In all, 85 players who donned the black and gold of UCF have been drafted.
Richardson, who was selected in the 11th round out of high school and 31st last year, was a part of head coach Terry Rooney's first recruiting class and has been the Knights' everyday centerfielder since then. He re-wrote the record books in 2012 after being plunked 35 times this season and 65 for his career. He was on base nearly every game this year and finished the season with a .480 OBP while smacking nine home runs and stealing a team-best 24 bases. He and teammate Roman Madrid will continue their journey to the big leagues together with the Padres
In his fourth year on campus, Hicks backed up his Preseason All-American status with a .316 batting average, 14 home runs and 72 RBI while becoming a Baseball America Midseason All-American and earning a spot on the All-Conference USA First Team. He ranks fifth all-time with 36-career homers and sixth with 173-career RBI. He closed out his redshirt junior season by earning All-Regional honors for the second straight year after homering three times in the Coral Gables Regional. A native of nearby Altamonte Springs, Hicks was drafted out of high school in the 49th round in 2008.
Both Richardson and Hicks took to Twitter after being taken by their respective ball clubs to thank their coaches, teammates and fans for all of the support and encouragement they have received since stepping foot on campus.
Collins finished his two-year stint at UCF making 25 appearances and four starts while logging 37 innings. He limited opponents to a .236 batting average in 2012 while finishing his career with a 2-3 record overall. The DeLand native also becomes the 44th pitcher selected in the draft under Rooney.
UCF's Selections in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft
1) Joe Rogers - 5th Round, Detroit Tigers - No. 184
2) Roman Madrid - 7th Round, San Diego Padres - No. 225
3) Darnell Sweeney - 13th Round, L.A. Dodgers - No. 416
4) Ronnie Richardson - 16th Round, San Diego Padres - No. 495
5) D.J. Hicks - 17th Round, Minnesota Twins - No. 520
6) Matt Collins - 37th Round, L.A. Angels of Anaheim - No. 1137