Freeland, Pena, Josten Earn Preseason All-AAC Honors

ORLANDO – Sophomore Alex Freeland, redshirt junior Gephry Pena, and redshirt junior Tom Josten were honored by the American Athletic Conference with 2022 preseason all-conference accolades on Wednesday.
The Knights were picked to finish fifth in the conference for the upcoming season, receiving 28 total votes, but were just two shy or third place in the coaches' poll.
Freeland earned a spot on the preseason all-conference team as the top shortstop heading into the 2022 season. Last year, the Cape Coral, Florida native played in and started 60 of 61 games for the Knights, ranked second among all Knights with 10 doubles as a true freshman.
He earned all-tournament honors at the American Athletic Conference Championship, had seven home runs on the season, scored 44 runs and finished with 37 RBI.
Pena was one of the five preseason all-conference picks in the outfield after receiving first-team all-conference accolades last spring. The Santiago, Dominican Republic native also earned all-tournament team honors at the AAC Championship in Clearwater.
Playing in and starting 51 games, Pena led the Knights and the AAC, and ranked 10th in the nation with 27 stolen bases a year ago. He hit .290 with nine double and 26 runs batted in on the season.
Josten, one of two designated hitters to earn preseason all-conference accolades, had nine doubles and eight home runs last season. The Palatine, Illinois native played in all 61 games, starting 57 times. He drove in 31 runs and was walked a team-high 48 times.
Only Tulane – with four selections – had more preseason all-conference picks than the Knights heading into the 2022 campaign.
UCF opens the season with a three-game series against Siena, beginning Feb. 18 at John Euliano Park.

2022 American Athletic Conference Baseball Preseason Poll

1stEast Carolina (6)48
2ndTulane (1)36
4thWichita State29
6thSouth Florida (1)26

-first-place votes in parantheses

Preseason Player of the Year
Paul Komistek, R-Jr., OF, Cincinnati
Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Carson Whisenhunt, So., East Carolina
Preseason All-Conference Team
P – Carson Whisenhunt, So., East Carolina*
P – Jack Jasiak, R-So., South Florida*
P – Tyler Hoffman, R-Jr., Tulane
P – Jace Kaminska, So., Wichita State*
RP – C.J. Mayhue, So., East Carolina
C – Bennett Lee, So., Tulane
1B – Garrett Kocis, Sr., Wichita State
2B – Chase Englehard, So., Tulane
SS – Alex Freeland, So., UCF
3B – Carmine Lane, R-So., South Florida
OF – Gephry Pena, R-Jr., UCF
OF – Cole Harting, So., Cincinnati
OF – Paul Komistek, R-Jr., Cincinnati*
OF – Griffin Merritt, R-Jr., Cincinnati
OF – Drew Brutcher, So., South Florida
DH – Tom Josten, R-Jr., UCF
DH – Luis Aviles, R-Sr., Tulane
*unanimous selection