2020 Preview: The Pitching Staff


ORLANDO, Fla. – Following a 2019 campaign that saw the Knights reach the American Athletic Conference semi-final round, the UCF baseball team will see 10 familiar names to the mound in John Euliano Park, and welcomethree transfers and five freshmen to the 2020 pitching staff.

Familiar Faces:

#1 // David Litchfield // R-Jr.
David Litchfield is set to make his return to the diamond this spring after tossing 3.1 innings and picking up five strikeouts, before missing the remainder of the 2019 campaign due to injury. The redshirt junior also missed the 2018 campaign from an injury.

#11 // Zack Helsel // R-Sr.
In his junior season with the Knights, Helsel made three appearances out of the bullpen before being sidelined with an injury and receiving a medical redshirt from the NCAA. The Altoona, Pa. Native will look to make an impact on the Knights staff was he makes his return in the 2020 campaign.

#12 // Jack Sinclair
A key returner to 2020 pitching staff, Jack Sinclair will look to expand on his role that saw him make 25 appearances out of the bullpen a season ago. The righthander fanned 37 batters in 36.1 innings pitched while only allowing 11 extra base hits.

#15 // Trevor Holloway // Jr.
Trevor Holloway is another key returner to the Knights pitching staff. Holloway saw action in six games and ate up 26.2 innings before receiving a medical redshirt and missing the remainder of the 2019 slate. In his six games on the mound, he held opponents to a .183 batting average and maintained a 2.02 ERA.

#18 // Zack Hunsicker // So.
As the lone freshman to make an appearance on the mound in 2019, Hunsicker tossed 33.1 innings over 21 appearances for the Knights. The upcoming sophomore made one start on the way to posting a 3-1 record with 15 strikeouts in 26.2 innings.

# 19 // Joe Sheridan // Sr.
After missing the 2019 slate due to an injury at the tail end of 2018, Sheridan looks to bring his senior presence back to the Knights pitching rotation. In 2018, Sheridan was sixth in The American in hits allowed per nine innings at 7.35, while notching the 10th lowest ERA in the league at 3.36. In his freshman season, Sheridan was named to the Freshman All-American team by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper/Louisville Slugger.

#20 // Jaylyn Whitehead // R-Sr.
Lefty Jaylyn Whitehead enters his third season with the Black and Gold after tossing the most innings of any returning pitcher with 50.1 innings. The redshirt junior picked up 38 strikeouts on his way to posting a 5-2 record with 10 starts on the mound.

#25 // Nolan Lepkoske // Fr.
Jacksonville, Fla. native Nolan Lepkoske will look to make his UCF debut in the 2020 season after missing the entire 2019 campaign due to injury. As a high schooler, Lepkoske was tabbed a Rawlings Perfect Game All-American Honorable Mention in 2018.

#28 // Ryan Saltonstall // R-Jr.
In his junior season at UCF, Saltonstall made one appearance before ending his season from injury. Prior to beginning his UCF career, the Phoenix, Ariz. native played two seasons at South Mountain Community College where he posted a 2.41 ERA and collected 84 strikeouts. Saltonstall tossed 82 innings on his way to an 8-2 overall record as a sophomore.

#30 // Jefffrey Hakanson // Jr.
A season ago, Hakanson led the team with a 17.55 K/9 mark and topped the team with six saves, including back-back outings against Florida and Jacksonville. The junior tallied 26.2 innings on the bump, tied for the fifth most innings by any returning pitcher.

The New Guys:

#3 // Nick Gottilla // Fr.
Nick Gottilla joins the Knights after he went 9-1 on the bump as a senior at Davenport Assumption High School, tallying 95 strikeouts with a 1.31 ERA. The Iowa native also carried a .365 batting average with five homers and six triples. Gottilla was also a two-time baseball state champion in 2017 and 2018, and was four-time All-District as a football player.

#4 // Chad Luensmann // R-Sr.
Joining UCF as a graduate transfer from Nebraska, Chad Luensmann brings three years of NCAA baseball experience to the Knights pitching staff. Through his career, Luensmann has made 66 appearances and tallied 98.2 innings on the mound, mostly in relief. He currently has a 3.65 career ERA and has struck out 72 batters. He played two seasons for the Cornhuskers before missing the 2018 campaign, where he received a medical redshirt. Prior to college, the Altoona, Pa. native was drafted by the New York Mets in the 39th round of the 2015 MLB Draft.

#10 // Colton Gordon // Jr.
Getting the nod as the Opening Knight starter vs. Siena, Colton Gordon comes to the Knights from Hillsborough Community College. Gordon completed his HCC career with a 2.44 ERA and a 7-4 record with 86 strikeouts. The Bradenton, Fla. native was ranked No. 51 overall in Florida by Perfect Game and the No. 6 left-handed pitcher in Florida coming out of Lakewood Ranch High School.

#16 // Hunter Patteson // Fr.
A freshman out of Vero Beach, Fla., Hunter Patteson comes to the Knights as a four-year letterwinner at Vero Beach High School. In 51 innings of work, Patteson struck out 81 batters and ended his senior season with a 6-1 record and 0.91 ERA. He was named to the First Team All-Treasure Coast for the fourth straight season.

#24 // Major Posey // Fr.
A no stranger to winning, Major Posey played in three high school state championship games prior to joining the Knights. Posey earned three All-Big Bend First-Team honors as a member of the North Florida Christian High School team.

#31 // Elijah McCormack // Fr.
A season ago, Elijah McCormack tossed 45 innings on his way to accumulating 70 strikeouts in his senior season at Coppell High School in Coppell, Texas. Prior to the 2019 season, McCormack was named to the Perfect Game Preseason All-American team.

#33 // Keegan Pulford-Thorpe // Fr.
Canadian product Keegan Pulford-Thorpe represented Canada on the Bronze medal winning team at the COPABEU18 Pan American Championships in Panama in 2018. Pulford-Thorpe was also selected in the 33rd round of the 2019 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the San Diego Padres. Prior to his selection in the Major League Baseball Draft, he was an Ontario Hockey League draftee to the Sudbury Wolves in 2017 as a defenseman.

#35 // Billy McKay // Jr.
Prior to coming to UCF, McKay spent two seasons at Polk State College where he led the Eagles in ERA a season ago with a 3.45 ERA in 35 appearances, tossing 75.2 innings. The Plant City, Fla. native spent the 2019 summer in the Northwoods League playing for the Kenosha Kingfish, where he fanned 38 batters in 36.2 innings of work. McKay was a three-year letter winner at Plant City High School.

The UCF baseball team is set for its fourth season under head coach Greg Lovelady and will welcome seven teams from the 2019 NCAA Tournament to John Euliano Park in 2020. Click here or call (407) 823-1000 for ticket information.

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