HOUSTON, Texas (UCFAthletics.com) – Chris Taladay, one of the most decorated hitters in UCF baseball history, can add another honor to his list of accomplishments. Conference USA announced Tuesday afternoon that the senior infielder was named the league’s Player of the Year.
The Windermere native becomes the first player in program history to earn the league’s top honor after leading C-USA in batting average (.361) and hits (78), while ranking in the top 10 in slugging percentage (.477), on-base percentage (.429), runs scored (38), RBI (43), doubles (14) and total bases (103). He also reached safely in all 24 league contests and registered a base-knock in all but one.
In addition to earning All-C-USA First Team laurels, Taladay becomes the fourth student-athlete in conference history to have won C-USA Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year.
Joining Taladay on the first team was fellow senior Erik Hempe. The Anaheim, Calif., native became the third outfielder in school history to earn a slot on the first squad after he led C-USA in total bases (111), while ranking in the top 10 of batting average (.325), slugging percentage (.524), on-base percentage (.429), runs scored (40), hits (69), RBI (37), doubles (16) and home runs (8).
For the second straight year, RHP Ben Lively was voted on to the All-C-USA Second Team after completing one of the best regular seasons by a Knights’ pitcher. He led the league with a 1.71 ERA in 14 starts, while ranking third in strikeouts (95) and fourth with 100 innings pitched. After earning a spot on the all-freshman team in 2011, Lively becomes the only pitcher in school history to earn a C-USA postseason award three straight seasons.
The final C-USA award for UCF went to RHP Zac Favre who was named to the All-Freshman Team. He led the league with 31 appearances this year out of the bullpen. The Jacksonville native owns a 3.12 ERA in 49 innings pitched and limited opponents to a .182 batting average against throughout the regular season.
With the league awards announced, the No. 5 Knights will now turn their attention to Wednesday’s opening game in the C-USA Championship against No. 4 Memphis at 12 p.m. EDT. UCF will also battle top-seeded host Rice on Thursday at 8 p.m. EDT and No. 8 UAB Friday at 8 p.m. EDT in their pod.
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