With Opening Knight slated for Feb. 15, UCFKnights.com will preview the four position groups for the UCF baseball team entering the 2019 campaign. For more information on how you can be a part of the action, click here for ticket info.
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – Entering the 2019 season, the UCF baseball team will have a quintet of catchers able to step behind the plate at any moment, anchored by a pair of all-conference caliber backstops Anthony George and Dallas Beaver.
For the first time in four years, UCF will not have Logan Heiser calling the pitches. Heiser, a four-year starter, graduated after the 2018 season. Over the course of his career, the Jupiter, Fla. native hit .242 with 67 RBI and 49 walks, including a career-best 21 in 2018. In addition to his offensive output, Heiser provided a calm and reliable hand behind the plate for the Knights.
George will make his return to the field on Opening Knight almost a year to the day after being injured during the second game of the 2018 season, which sidelined him for the remainder of the campaign. Prior to his injury, George stepped into the secondary catcher’s role for the 2017 season, in which he hit .294 with 10 RBI and one home run.
Dallas Beaver is back after earning All-Conference Second Team honors in The American in 2018. The junior was a reliable bat in the lineup, hitting .284 with 30 RBI and six home runs. He also posted a team-high .322 batting average during league action. Beaver was one of two players who played in all 56 games last year, including 20 behind the plate. While he has worked primarily at first during the fall and preseason practices, the Kissimmee, Fla., native will occasionally feature behind the plate over the course of the season.
Behind the experienced duo will be three newcomers. Junior college transfer Jordan Rathbone, as well as freshman Ben McCabe and Ben Rushing, will vie for backstop duty.
Rathbone arrived at UCF after two seasons at South Mountain Community College. As a redshirt sophomore, the Spokane, Wash., native had a .301 clip at the plate with four home runs, a .403 on-base percentage and a .515 slugging mark. Rathbone spent a redshirt season with his hometown team Gonzaga after graduating from Gonzaga Prep as a four-year letterwinner.
McCabe has shown a lot of improvement during his first fall in Orlando. The native of Sarasota, Fla., earned three letters at Sarasota High School and earned First Team All-Area and FACA State All-Star honors as a senior.
Rushing will work around the infield, as well as at catcher. The rookie from Weston, Fla., was named a 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and earned All-District honors as a senior at Cypress Bay, where he was a four-year letterwinner.
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