Countdown to Opening Knight: Season Preview - Outfield

GO KNIGHTS Ronnie Richardson is back in 2012 after starting all 62 games in CF last year.
Ronnie Richardson is back in 2012 after starting all 62 games in CF last year.

Feb. 15, 2012

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By Eric DeSalvo

ORLANDO, Fla. ( - Part six of's season preview of the 2012 UCF baseball team focuses on the outfield slots that include power and speed at all three positions.

Left Field
-Jr. Chris Taladay - Injuries shortened his 2011 campaign in which he started 38 games. Will see time in LF, 3B and behind the plate
-Jr. Nick Carrillo - Power lefty from Glendale, Ariz., who will see time in LF, 3B and behind the plate
-Jr. Ryan Breen - Started 41 games in 2011, including 27 in left field, 10 in right and four behind the plate
-Jr. Jeramy Matos - Junior college walk-on from Palm Beach State who provides power from the right side of the plate

Center Field
-Jr. Ronnie Richardson - Two-time draftee is back after impressive 2011 campaign that saw him collect a .423 batting average with runners in scoring position
-Fr. JoMarcos Woods - Rookie speedster could play all outfield slots as well as come out of the bullpen
-Fr. Erik Barber - Another quick-footed fielder that earned four letters playing outfield at Lakeland High School

Right Field
-Sr. Alex Friedrich - Local product (University HS) will see increased time in the lineup after 29 appearances in 2011
-Fr. James Vasquez - Rookie will see time at first base and also roam the outfield, providing another left-handed bat in the lineup

Two thirds of the 2011 outfield is back for the Knights as Ronnie Richardson (Eagle Lake, Fla.), Ryan Breen (Palm City, Fla.) and Chris Taladay (Windemere, Fla.) return for their junior seasons. The Knights would have seen every player from the 2011 roster back, but senior Erik Hempe (Anaheim, Calif.) suffered a knee injury during the preseason and will be lost for the year.

Left field, much like 2011, will be a time share between Breen, Nick Carrillo (Glendale, Ariz.) and Taladay. The trio will most likely be on the field at all times with each splitting time at catcher and in left, while Carillo and Taladay will share third-base duties.

Richardson, a two-time MLB draft selection, returns to roam center field where he made all 62 starts in 2011. Possessing a strong arm and blazing speed, Richardson provides the Knights with solid defense all-around. His biggest contribution to the squad may be his clutch hitting at the dish. In 2011, the C-USA Preseason All-Conference selection was lethal with 34 RBI, a .423 average with runners in scoring position and 15 stolen bases.

Richardson's rookie counterparts at the position in JoMarcos Woods (Orlando, Fla.) and Erik Barber (Lakeland, Fla.) play a lot like him. Each possess blazing speed and have the ability to track down any ball hit in their vicinity.

With the loss of Hempe in right, utility outfielder Alex Friedrich (Orlando, Fla.) will see a lot of time along with rookie James Vasquez (Palm City, Fla.). Last year, Friedrich appeared in 29 games, serving mostly as a pinch-runner and defensive substitute. Vasquez will give the Knights another power bat from the left side and could see time at DH as well.

Opening Knight is quickly approaching, as UCF will open its newly renovated ballpark against Long Island this Friday at 6:30 p.m. in game one of a three-game weekend series. The game is FREE for everyone who makes it out to the UCF baseball complex. Season and single-game tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (407) 823-1000 or by visiting's Tickets section.



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