UCF head baseball coach Terry Rooney has done many things for his program in his fifth year on the job. Not only has he created a winning environment with back-to-back regional appearances, but also welcomes back former Knights who are preparing for their professional seasons.
Early in the spring, if you stop by the UCF baseball complex you will see many familiar faces who helped put UCF on the map. One of those former Knights that works out on campus is current Los Angeles Dodgers minor leaguer Darnell Sweeney.
From 2010-12, when looking at the UCF lineup card, No. 21 was slotted at shortstop all but one game in his career. Sweeney was an iron man for the Knights, starting 178 contests, which ranks 12th all-time at UCF. The .301-career hitter swiped 49 bags and also drove in crucial runs, ranking fourth all-time with 14 sacrifice flies.
The C-USA All-Freshman Team honoree collected many awards over his career, including a spot on the Coral Gables All-Regional Team this past June. Following his three-year stint with the Knights, Sweeney's name was called in the 13th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers to become the third of six Knights drafted in 2012.
The Miramar native wasted no time this summer impressing in the minor leagues. After three weeks at rookie ball with the Ogden Raptors, Sweeney was called up to Single-A Great Lakes where he played 51 games for the Loons of the Midwest League. He led the team in batting average (.291) by nearly 20 points out of players with more than 30 at-bats, and showed off his power and speed with five homers and 17 stolen bases.
Working out in Orlando until early March, Sweeney will be one of five "Knights of Honor" inducted into the Tradition Room on Opening Knight. Make sure to watch Sweeney in the video below talk about his time at UCF and life in the minor leagues.