2019 Preview: The Infield

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) – The UCF baseball team will have some familiar faces around the infield during the 2019 season. The Knights will have four veteran starters from the 2018 squad, including Dallas Beaver, who made the move from third to first during the offseason.

Second Team All-Conference in The American second baseman Matthew Mika is back for his final season at UCF. The senior flashed his trademark speed on the paths last year with a career-high 27 steals, good for second in The American and 22nd in the nation. Mika hit .276 with 30 RBI and four home runs as a junior.

Beaver, a regular in the 2018 lineup at third and behind the plate, will make the move over to first base for his junior campaign. The Kissimmee, Fla., native was fourth on the team in hitting last year with a .284 clip. His numbers jumped up to .296 and 14 RBI when featuring in the top two spots of the order. Beaver led the team with a .322 batting average during conference play, which earned him Second Team honors in The American.

Third baseman Griffin Bernardo has been constantly mentioned when teammates are asked about who made the biggest jump during the offseason. After a rookie campaign that saw flashes of power and consistency, the Longwood native was one of the top hitters for the Cincinnati Steam in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, hitting a team-high .376 with 44 RBI and earning a spot in the GLSC All-Star Game.

Brandon Hernandez and Adams Torres will continue to provide depth at shortstop. Hernandez in 50 games at short last season with 14 RBI, 28 walks and 12 stolen bases. Torres made eight starts during his freshman campaign with a trio of RBI and nine walks.

Tyler Osik will also feature at first base during the year. While his primary role will be in the outfield, the redshirt senior will play first on occasion. The Shoreham, N.Y., garnered a Second Team All-Conference nod for leading The American with 56 RBI during his first season in Orlando.

Additional newcomers will provide depth along the infield. Ben Rushing and Jay Lyons have worked at the corners during the fall and preseason. Rushing was a four-year starter at Cypress Bay and a 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American. Lyons was also a 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American after four years at King High School. Junior college transfer Pedro Castellano was a two-year starter for South Florida State College, where he earned First Team All-Conference nods in both campaigns.

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