Baseball

Game of the Week 11.19.18 - WBB vs. Villanova (TOP)
article image
stop
Knights Announce 2018 Recruiting Class
August 23, 2018
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email Article Print Article

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – As classes started earlier this week, the UCF baseball team returned to John Euliano Park for individual practices with a contingent of new faces. Head coach Greg Lovelady announced the 17-member 2018 recruiting class on Friday.

Lovelady and the Knights needed to fill the gaps left by 11 departures, including four graduating seniors. The pitching staff was a point of emphasis after the Black and Gold sent five arms to the MLB Draft back in June, including fifth round pick Thad Ward (Boston) and seventh round selection JJ Montgomery (Baltimore).

The 2018 recruiting class features nine pitchers, three infielders, two outfielders and three catchers, two of whom double as utility players. The coaching staff placed a premium on experience, as 10 of the newcomers have played at least one season of collegiate ball. Pitchers Grant Schuermann and Kyle Kemp will both have one year of eligibility remaining after coming in as graduate transfers from Furman and Lipscomb, respectively.

“It’s really exciting to bring in the next generation of our program,” Lovelady said. “Ryan Klosterman did a great job of going out there and finding talent, especially on the pitching staff. After losing so many guys to the draft, we really needed to find guys who could come in and step right up. Adding two grad transfers is a huge deal for us. We already have some pieces returning, but the players who already have college experience are going to be huge additions for us.

“Offensively, we lost Rylan Thomas and Logan Heiser,” Lovelady continued. “We needed to upgrade our offense. We need to step up heading into next year. We brought in some competition to fill Rylan’s shoes. Having most of the offense back is going to be huge, but we needed to add some pieces for next year. This class answers some questions we had about our lineup, not only for this year, but for the future as well.”

 Here’s a look at the newest set of Knights:

#4 Jay Lyons
Fr. | IF | 5’8 | 215 | Tampa, Fla. | King HS
• Lettered four years at King High School
• Hit .286 over 22 games with 18 RBI as a senior
• Drove in 15 RBI behind a .321 clip at the plate in 2017
• Finished sophomore season with a .633 slugging percentage anda  .310 batting average
• 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American

#15 Trevor Holloway
Jr. | RHP | 6'2 | 200 | Venice, Fla. | Chipola | Venice HS
• Played one season at Chipola College
• Made 18 appearances as a sophomore with 13 starts
• Posted a 3.36 ERA and an 8-4 over 75 innings of work with 83 punchouts in 2018
• Spent freshman campaign at High Point
• Notched a 4.92 ERA over 13 starts for a 3-6 record
• Finished rookie year with 45 strikeouts over 60 1/3 innings of action

#16 Zack Helsel
RJr. | RHP | 6'1 | 195 | Altoona, Fla. | Miami Dade | Liberty | Altoona HS
• Played sophomore campaign at Miami Dade College
• Tossed 44 innings with 25 punchouts and a 4.40 ERA for a 7-3 record and four saves
• Gave up one hit in first collegiate start for Miami Dade over six innings
• Began collegiate career at Liberty in 2016 and 2017
• Made 13 appearances for 14 innings of work and five strikeouts as a freshman in 2016
• Redshirted second season at Liberty

#17 Kyle Kemp
RSr. | RHP | 6'2 | 215 | Port Charlotte, Fla. | Lipscomb | Port Charlotte HS
• Appeared in 53 games over three years for Lipscomb
• Has a career 4.76 ERA and a 6-7 record with seven saves
• Started 11 games
• Has 128 punchouts over 126 2/3 innings of work
• Graudated with a degree in corporate management
• Will pursue a master's degree in entrepreneurship & project management

#27 Tom Cheshareck
RJr. | RHP | 6'1 | 185 | Morris, Ill. | Parkland | Illinois State | Morris Community HS
• Spent two seasons at Parkland College 
• Took the Cobras to a runner-up finish at the 2018 NJCAA DII World Series
• Made 15 apperances as a sophomore with one save and a 1-0 record
• Tossed 19 1/3 innings with 26 punchouts and a 2.79 ERA in 2018
• Tabbed to the 2018 Midwest Athletic Conference All-Academic Team
• Guided the Cobras to the MWAC Championship and a third-place finish at the NJCAA World Series in 2017
• Appeared in 12 games to finish the year with a 2-1 record and one save
• Threw 15 1/3 innings with 19 strikeouts as a freshman
• Redshirted one year at Illinois State in 2016

#28 Ryan Saltonstall
Jr. | LHP | 6'0 | 195 | Phoenix, Ariz. | South Mountain | Sunnyslope HS
• Played two years at South Mountain in Phoenix, Ariz.
• Posted a 2.41 ERA, 84 strikeouts and an 8-2 reocrd in 82 innings as a sophomore
• Picked up Second Team All-Conference honors in 2018
• Finished with 56 punchouts, a 6-1 mark and a 2.36 ERA over 72 1/3 innings after his freshman season

#29 Pedro Castellano
Jr. | INF | 5'11 | 185 | Davenport, Fla. | South Florida State | Faith Baptist Christian
• Spent two seasons at South Florida State College
• Earned First Team All-Conference honors after hitting .333 with 37 RBI and six home runs as a sophomore
• Capped freshman season with a .289 batting average and 27 RBI, as well as four home runs to garner a First Team All-Conference nod
• Lettered one season at Faith Baptist Christian Academy

#31 Gephry Pena
Fr. | OF | 6'0 | 165 | Santiago, Dominican Republic | Florida Prep Academy
• Was a two-year starter at Florida Prep Academy
• Hit .473 with 17 RBI, three home runs and 37 stolen bases as a senior
• Named the 2A Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018
• Posted a .585 clip at the plate and drove in 25 RBI, along with 37 steals and 31 runs in 2017

#32 Ben Rushing
Fr. | UTL | 6'0 | 205 | Weston, Fla. | Cypress Bay
• Four-year starter for Cypress Bay High School
• Named a 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game Hornable Mention All-American in 2018
• Hit .312 to earn All-Dristict honorable mention honors as a senior
• Notched a .464 batting average with an on-base percentage of .558 and 24 RBI as a junior
• Tabbed as a 2017 Underclass Honorable Mention by Perfect Game

#33 Zack Hunsicker
Fr. | RHP | 6'4 | 230 | Wentzville, Mo. | Francis Howell HS
• Four-year letterwinner at Francis Howell under coach Tony Perkins
• Named a Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American in 2018
• Guided the Vikings to a state championship as a sophomore in 2016

#34 Jordan Rathbone
RJr. | UTL | 5'11 | 200 | Spokane, Wash. | South Mountain | Gonzaga | Gonzaga Prep
• Played two seasons at South Mountain Community College
• Hit .301 with a 18 RBI and four homers .403 on-base percentage and a .515 slugging percentage as a redshirt sophomore
• Drove in 57 RBI on a .347 clip at the plate with 11 homers, 35 runs scored and 19 stolen bases as a redshirt freshman
• Tabbed Second Team All-ACCAC in 2017
• Redshirted one season at Gonzaga
• Three-time All-League pick at Gonzaga Prep

#36 Nolan Lepkoske
Fr. | RHP | 6'5 | 240 | Jacksonville, Fla. | Mandarin HS
• Three-year letterwinner at Mandarin High School
• Tabbed as a 1010xl Scholar-Athlete
• 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American
• Earned All-Conference honors as a junior

#37 Grant Schuermann
RSr. | RHP | 6'2 | 200 | Cincinnati, Ohio | Furman | Lakota West HS
• Spent four seasons at Furman
• Played in 42 games and had an even record of 14-14, along with one save
• Has a career 3.475 strikeout-to-walk ratio (139/40) over 227 career innings
• Graduated with a degree in communications
• Will pursue a master's in interdisciplinary studies

#39 Connor Allen
RFr. | INF | 6'4 | 225 | Merritt Island, Fla. | Miami | Merritt Island HS
• Saw action in four games with one start at Miami in 2018
• Four-year varsity letterwinner at Merritt Island
• Ranked No. 312 by Perfect Game in its annual top-400 freshman rankings
• Batted .458 with three home runs, 30 RBI and 14 steals in final season
• Earned All-Cape Coast Conference recognition
• Lettered three years in football.

#40 Ben McCabe
Fr. | C | 5'11 | 170 | Sarasota, Fla. | Sarasota HS
• Was a three-year letterwinner at Sarasota HIgh School
• Tabbed First Team All-Acarea and FACA State All-Star selection as a senior
• Hit .310 with 14 RBI to help the Sailors reach a runner-up finish in the state tournament in 2018
• Reached the Florida State Tournament Final Four in 2017
• Named the Sarasota High School Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2018

#42 Ty Crittenberger
Fr. | OF | 5'11 | 170 | Lighthouse Port, Fla. | Cardinal Gibbons HS
• Four-year letterwinner for Cardinal Gibbons
• Produced a .425 clip at the plate with five homers and 34 runs as a senior
• Reached base safely in every game in 2018 to earn First Team All-County and FACA All-State honors
• Finished junior season with a .467 batting average and three home runs
• Tabbed as a 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-America, as well as a 2017 Underclass High Honorable Mention

#43 Liam Silvagnoli
Jr. | RHP | 6'2 | 200 | Orlando, Fla. | Seminole State | East River HS
• Played two seasons at Seminole State College
• Made 19 apperances as sophomore with a 2-01 record and two saves
• Struck out 42 batters in 37 1/3 innings of action in 2018
• Posted six punchouts in 10 innings as a freshman over nine games

GET THE APP
Never miss any UCF Knights news from your favorite team by downloading the free UCF Knights app right to your iOS or Android phone! The app provides personalized information for men's and women's teams, scores, schedules, loyalty programs and even breaking news.

FOLLOW THE KNIGHTS
Follow UCF Baseball on social media on Facebook (/UCF.Baseball), Twitter (UCF_Baseball) and Instagram (UCF.Baseball).

Meet the Knights

{{player.name}}
{{player.sport}} - {{player.position}}
{{stat.name}}: {{stat.data}}
OUC
Florida Blue
DoubleTree Bottom
Central Florida Expressway
Uploaded Ad
BurgerU
Hilton Garden Inn Bottom
Chick-fil-A
Luxury Transportation Group
All State
Hedez Dry Cleaners
Uploaded Ad
Coke AD
CFE AD
Nike AdNik
Spectrum Ad