Rooney Announces 24 Newcomers in 2013-14 Signing Class



Aug 21, 2013

Twitter Logo Facebook Logo UCF Athletics Social Media Directory

By Andrew Jennette

ORLANDO, Fla. ( – UCF head baseball coach Terry Rooney and his staff hit the recruiting road hard this summer to secure 24 newcomers in the 2013-14 class. Heading into his sixth season with the program, Rooney announced the new enrollees on Wednesday with 14 players hailing from the Sunshine State. 

“We are extremely excited to announce the addition of these outstanding players to the UCF program,” Rooney said. “I want to thank our Recruiting Coordinator, Kevin Schnall, and Assistant Coach Ryan Klosterman for their incredible efforts in putting together what I believe is one of the top recruiting classes in the nation.”

Along with 12 2013 high-school graduates, 12 players from the junior-college ranks look to make an immediate impact in the Black and Gold. The Knights added a total of 11 pitchers (four left-handed), four catchers and nine position players.

UCF continues to shine as a program that recruits nationally. With commits coming from eight different states and all four time zones, the Knights have been able to find talent all over the country.

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Class B/T Hometown (Previous School)
Matt Diorio C 6-1 185 Fr. L/R Staten Island, N.Y. (Moore Catholic HS)
Danny Dixon LHP 6-2 195 Jr. L/L Orlando, Fla. (Brevard CC)
Dalton Duty INF/OF 5-11 182 Fr. L/R Palatka, Fla. (Palatka HS)
Drew Faintich LHP 6-3 215 Fr. R/L Tallahassee, Fla. (North Florida Christian HS)
Kam Gellinger INF 6-1 180 Fr. L/R Cape Coral, Fla. (Island Coast HS)
Tyler Hayden INF/OF 6-4 220 Fr. R/R Oviedo, Fla. (Oviedo HS)
Robby Howell RHP 6-3 223 Fr. R/R Fort White, Fla. (Fort White HS)
Joe Marotta RHP 5-11 170 Jr. R/R Port St. Lucie, Fla. (College of Central Florida)
Dylan Moore INF 6-0 185 Jr. R/R Yorba Linda, Calif. (Cypress College)
Brooks Morgan INF 6-1 190 Fr. R/R Gainesville, Fla. (Buchholtz HS)
Nathan Morris RHP 6-2 212 Jr. R/R Semmes, Ala. (Chattahoochee Valley CC)
Tanner Olson RHP 6-4 210 Jr. R/R Ferndale, Wash. (Skagit Valley College)
Kyle Perkins C 6-1 185 Fr. R/R Wellington, Fla. (Palm Beach Central HS)
Hayden Platt C 6-3 215 Fr. R/R Naples, Fla. (Naples HS)
Zach Rodgers RHP 5-11 175 Jr. R/R Glendale, Ariz. (Cochise College)
Vinnie Rosace LHP 5-11 185 Fr. L/L Lake Mary, Fla. (Lake Mary HS)
Derrick Salberg OF 6-0 175 Jr. L/L Kelso, Wash. (Lower Columbia College)
Jordan Savinon C 6-2 210 Jr. L/R Clearwater, Fla. (St. Petersburg College)
Parker Thomas LHP 6-0 195 Jr. L/L Richmond, Texas (Weatherford College)
Trent Thompson RHP 6-3 265 Fr. R/R Tampa, Fla. (Berkeley Prep)
Sam Tolleson INF 6-3 195 Jr. R/R Houston, Texas (Cypress College)
Mitchell Tripp RHP 6-1 215 R-So. R/R Bellingham, Wash. (Lower Columbia College)
Eugene Vazquez INF/OF 6-2 205 Fr. L/L Orlando, Fla. (Timber Creek HS)
Chad Whiteaker INF/OF 5-10 195 Jr. R/R Henderson, Nev. (College of Southern Nevada)

Breakdown by State
Florida: 14
Washington: 3
Texas: 2
Alabama: 1
Arizona: 1
California: 1
Nevada: 1
New York: 1


Matt Diorio
Fr. – C – 6-1, 185
Staten Island, N.Y. (Moore Catholic HS)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Was a four-year letterwinner while playing catcher, outfield and first base under the guidance of Nick Doscher
-Was named rookie of the year as a freshman, an advance all-star as a sophomore, offensive player of the year as a junior and all-city following his senior campaign
-Led the Island CHSAA in batting as a sophomore and was sixth as a senior at .340
-Rawlings 2013 Northeast All-Region First Team

-Born in Staten Island, N.Y.
-Son of Larry and Linda Diorio
-Has two brothers, Adam and Chris


Danny Dixon
Jr. – LHP – 6-2, 195
Orlando, Fla. (Brevard CC)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Pitched for two seasons at Brevard CC under coaches Ernie Rosseau and Jeff Tam
-Threw a complete game during freshman year of junior college against Palm Beach State on just 81 pitches
-Excelled academically, earning a spot on the Dean’s List at Brevard CC
-Three-year letterwinner at Boone High School under head coach Pete Post
-Won the Most Outstanding Pitcher award after senior season at Boone

-Born in Orlando, Fla.
-Son of Jim and Brenda Dixon
-Has a sister, Brandi


Dalton Duty
Fr. – INF/OF – 5-11, 182
Palatka, Fla. (Palatka HS)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Played for head coach Matt McCool at Palatka High School and was a four-year letterwinner playing the infield and outfield
-Also earned two letters as a kicker on the football team and was named all-county both seasons
-Garnered 2013 Rawlings Third Team All-America status and also Rawlings Florida All-Region First Team honors
-Touted as the 34th-best outfield prospect in the nation in Perfect Game’s high school class of 2013 rankings
-Was named to all-county team each season played, including an all-state award his senior year
-Totaled 13 home runs during his high school career and also showed off the wheels with 64 stolen bases

-Born in St. Augustine, Fla.
-Son of Rickey and Donna Duty
-Has one brother, Levi


Drew Faintich
Fr. – LHP – 6-3, 215
Tallahassee, Fla. (North Florida Christian HS)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Four-year letterwinner in both baseball as a pitcher and football as a defensive end, coached by Mike Posey and Robert Craft
-Won MVP of the Babe Ruth World Series Championship Game during freshman season
-As a sophomore, earned a spot in the Perfect Game Junior National Showcase
-Had a huge dual-sport year in 2011, going 4-3 with a 1.55 ERA on the mound and winning the class 3A state championship in football with an undefeated 13-0 record
-Earned All-Big Bend and Perfect Game All-America honors after going 5-1 with a 2.16 ERA and 48 strikeouts as a senior
-Threw a pair of scoreless innings at both the Perfect Game National Showcase and the Florida Diamond Club

-Born in Tallahassee, Fla.
-Son of Stephen and Myra Faintich
-Has a sister, Courtney


Kam Gellinger
Fr. – INF – 6-1, 180
Cape Coral, Fla. (Island Coast HS)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Earned four letters as a starting shortstop at Island Coast HS under head coach Clint Montgomery
-Hit .427, .410 and .450 his final three seasons of high school
-Was honored as Team MVP after sophomore and junior seasons
-Named to the all-ttate team after stellar senior season
-Smacked first-career grand slam as a senior in a critical district game

-Born in Naples, Fla.
-Son of Brenda Gellinger
-Has a brother, Kory, and a sister, Keelie


Tyler Hayden
Fr. – INF/OF – 6-4, 220
Oviedo, Fla. (Oviedo HS)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Four-year letterwinner on the Oviedo High School baseball team under coach Harold Hitt
-Also lettered three years on the basketball squad
-A standout in the classroom, graduating with a 4.3 GPA as a member of the National Honors Society
-In senior season, named first team all-district, all-conference, All-Central Florida and all-state teams
-Bestowed the honor of Oviedo High School Male Athlete of the Year
-Helped lead Oviedo to first district title in five years, and its first regional finals in nine

-Born in Winter Park, Fla.
-Son of Tom and Diane Hayden
-Has two brothers, Drew and Derek


Robby Howell
Fr. – RHP – 6-3, 223
Fort White, Fla. (Fort White HS)

Athletic Accomplishments
-A four-year letterwinner on the Fort White baseball team under head coach Mike Rizzi
-Shined in the classroom as a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club and Phi Theta Kappa
-A two-year captain, named to the all-area second team while tossing three no-hitters in his junior season, including two in back-to-back starts
-As a senior, compiled a 7-3 record with a 1.59 ERA on the mound in 14 appearances with four complete games
-Also played basketball his first two years at Fort White

-Born in Gainesville, Fla.
-Son of Bobby and Jeanne Howell
-Has one brother, Matthew, and one sister, Ashley


Joe Marotta
Jr. – RHP – 5-11, 170
Port St. Lucie, Fla. (College of Central Florida)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Pitched two seasons at College of Central Florida under the tutelage of Marty Smith
-Earned conference honorable mention honors as freshman and all-conference 2nd team as a sophomore
-Four-year letterwinner that graduated with a 3.4 GPA from Treasure Coast HS
-Set school records at Treasure Coast in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, and lowest ERA
-Was named school Pitcher of the Year as both a junior and senior
-Threw a no-hitter as a freshman in first-career varsity game

-Born in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
-Son of Joe and Angie Marotta
-Has a brother, Jon


Dylan Moore
Jr. – INF – 6-0, 185
Yorba Linda, Calif. (Cypress College)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Spent two years at Cypress College under the tutelage of Scott Pickler
-In sophomore campaign, aided the Chargers to a CCCAA State Championship while hitting .273 with 22 RBI, 34 runs scored and 22 stolen bases
-Graduated from El Dorado High School in 2011 and was coached by Dave Moore
-A two-year letterwinner, notched honorable mention status driving in 12 and scoring 13 times as a junior
-Broke out in his senior season, hitting .446 with 10 RBI, 26 runs scored and nine stolen bases in 30 games
-Earned first team all-league honors following his final season at El Dorado

-Born in Newport Beach, Calif.
-Son of Scott and Kathy Moore
-Has two brothers, Tyler and Zach, and two sisters, Hayley and Maddi


Brooks Morgan
Fr. – INF – 6-1, 190
Gainesville, Fla. (Buchholz HS)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Earned three letters on the baseball team playing for head coach Ron Brooks, and also competed on the football and basketball squads
-A decorated student-athlete at Buchholtz who was a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and earned the AP Scholar Award
-In junior season, named all-area second-team infielder, most outstanding defensive player and named to the Perfect Game National Underclass Top Prospect Team and a 2012 Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention
-During senior campaign, batted .333 with 17 RBI and earned many accolades including: all-area first team, most outstanding defensive player, 2012 Perfect Game Qualifier All-Tournament Team, 2012 Perfect Game 17U BCS All-Tournament Team and 2013 Perfect Game Florida Regional Honorable Mention

-Born in Gainesville, Fla.
-Son of Buzz and Mendy Morgan
-Has one brother, Brandon


Nathan Morris
Jr. – RHP – 6-2, 212
Semmes, Ala. (Chattahoochee Valley CC)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Spent one year at Chattahoochee Valley CC under the tutelage of Adam Thomas and one year at Pensacola State College under Keith Little
-Recorded a team-best .149 batting average against in sophomore season to go along with a 2.70 ERA in 15 relief appearances
-Graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School in Mobile, Ala. in 2011 and played under head coach Shane Sullivan
-Recorded a combined 17-1 record on the mound during final two years of high school while also blasting 13 home runs
-Trained with the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals scout teams while competing as a high school and collegiate athlete and was named an Under Armour All-American

-Born in Semmes, Ala.
-Son of Doug and Tammy Morris
-Has one brother, Heath


Tanner Olson
Jr. – RHP – 6-4, 210
Ferndale, Wash. (Skagit Valley College)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Spent two years at Skagit Valley College under the tutelage of Ben Silva and Adam Roberts
-Named NWAACC Honorable Mention as a reliever in first year and followed up with a spot on the NWAACC-North Second Team after compiling a 5-1 record with a 2.40 ERA
-Attended Ferndale High School where he was a three-year letterwinner on both the football and baseball teams
-Coached by Sean Linville and was named All-Whatcom County as a third baseman and pitcher after both his junior and senior seasons
-In senior season on the diamond, also named All-North West Conference as a pitcher and third baseman and honored as the NWC Pitcher of the Year after posting a 7-1 record with a 2.70 ERA and 81 strikeouts
-Was a team captain in senior campaign and was also named Ferndale High School Male Athlete of the Year

-Born in Ferndale, Wash.
-Son of Mark and Lori Olson
-Has two brothers, Chase and Kolby
-Father, Mark, played golf at Washington State


Kyle Perkins
Fr. – C – 6-1, 185
Wellington, Fla. (Palm Beach Central HS)

Athletic Accomplishments
-A two-year letterwinner at Palm Beach Central under head coach Scott Benedict
-A standout in the classroom in which he graduated in the top 1% of his class and was a member of the Beta Honor Society
-Served as the starting catcher in his senior season, led the team in RBI and was an 8A district honorable mention
-Was chosen as the catcher to represent Palm Beach Central at the annual Dick Howser All-Star Game

-Born in Boston, Mass.
-Son of Scott and Deanna Perkins
-Has one brother, Cameron


Hayden Platt
Fr. – C – 6-3, 215
Naples, Fla. (Naples HS)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Earned four letters in baseball as a catcher under head coach Rick Turner while also playing basketball as a power forward
-Competed in the Class 6A Collier County Athletic Conference
-Excelled in the classroom as a member of the National Honor Society while also earning the Scholar Athlete Award
-Was named to the all-area and all-conference teams all four years of high school
-Finished high school career with 87 RBI and a lifetime .389 batting average

-Born in Naples, Fla.
-Son of Rob and Mandy Platt
-Is an only child


Zach Rodgers
Jr. – RHP – 5-11, 175
Glendale, Ariz. (Cochise College)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Spent two years at Cochise College under the tutelage of Todd Inglehart
-As a sophomore, Cochise had its most successful season in school history, 52-19, and finished in third place at the NJCAA College World Series while earning a No. 2 national ranking by Perfect Game
-Earned Third-Team All-American honors after posting the lowest ERA in school history at 1.29
-Finished sophomore season with an 11-0 record and five complete games
-Graduated from Ironwood High School in 2011 and was coached by Mike Holder
-A four-year letterwinner in baseball, also played quarterback in football

-Born in Glendale, Ariz.
-Son of Eddie and Lisa Rodgers
-Has two brothers, Cody and Aaron, and one sister, Kristin


Vinnie Rosace
Fr. – LHP – 5-11, 185
Lake Mary, Fla. (Lake Mary HS)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Four-year letterwinner as a pitcher and outfielder at Lake Mary HS under head coach Allen Tuttle
-Excelled in the classroom as an Honor Roll recipient all four years as well as a member of the Social Club
-Was a member of the Orlando Scorpions travel club that finished runner up in the WWBA 16U
-Held a 1.10 ERA in 55 innings pitched with 60 strikeouts as a junior en route to earning 2nd team all-conference honors
-Earned first team all-conference as a utility player after finishing senior season with a 1.50 ERA and .370 batting average

-Born in Youngstown, Ohio
-Son of Peter and Nichol Rosace
-Has three sisters, Olivia, Mia and Gina


Derrick Salberg
Jr. – OF – 6-0, 175
Kelso, Wash. (Lower Columbia College)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Manned the outfield for two years at Lower Columbia College under head coach Donegal Fergus
-Made the All-NWAACC Tournament First Team in freshman year and made this sensational catch that was nominated for "Best Play" at the ESPY's
-As a sophomore at Lower Columbia, earned first team west division honors and a spot on the All-NWAACC Second Team while earning a gold glove for his strong play in the outfield
-A 2011 graduate of Great St. Helens High School, he was named to the GSHL First Team in both his junior and senior seasons
-Earned a gold glove for his defense in right field his junior year and one in center field his senior campaign

-Born in Longview, Wash.
-Son of Tim and Cindy Salberg
-Has one younger sister, Brianna


Jordan Savinon
Jr. – C – 6-2, 210
Clearwater, Fla. (St. Petersburg College)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Two year letterwinner at St. Petersburg College under the tutelage of Ryan Beckman
-Earned all-conference and all-state honors as a sophomore catcher
-Graduated from Dunedin High School in 2011 as a three-year letterwinner in baseball and golf under head baseball coach Tom Hilbert and head golf coach Jim Edmonds
-Named Defensive Player of the Year after junior and senior campaigns
-All-conference player three consecutive seasons while maintaining a .400+ batting average over final two years at Dunedin HS

-Born in Louisville, Ky.
-Son of Odalis Savinon and Jennifer Caldwell
-Has a brother, Ethan, and two sisters, Evalis Savinon and Celeste Caldwell
-Father, Odalis, played five seasons in the minors with the St. Louis Cardinals organization


Parker Thomas
Jr. – LHP – 6-0, 195
Richmond, Texas (Weatherford College)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Appeared in 17 games and logged 42 innings on the mound at Weatherford College while pitching for Jeff Lightfoot
-At Texarkana College under Steve Trout, compiled a 6-3 record in 12 appearances with 51 2/3 innings pitched
-Played his high school ball at Foster High School under head coach Mick Tosch while earning three letters
-Pitched and played first base while earning 4A Region 23 All-District honors all three years
-Served as team captain his senior season at Foster

-Born in Houston, Texas
-Son of Patrick and Betsy Thomas
-Has one sister, Paige


Trent Thompson
Fr. – RHP – 6-3, 265
Tampa, Fla. (Berkeley Prep)

Athletic Accomplishments
-A three-year letterman as a pitcher and utility fielder for head coach Justin Houston at Berkeley Prep in Tampa
-Also played quarterback and offensive lineman early in high-school career
-In junior campaign, was named to the all-county team as a pitcher with a 5-1 record in 51 1/3 innings, 1.09 ERA, 60 strikeouts and an opponent batting average of .159
-Helped lead Berkeley Prep to the 4A District Championship and to the regional final
-Was unable to compete in senior season due to injury

-Born in Tampa, Fla.
-Son of Jeff and Bobbi Thompson
-Has a sister, Nicole


Sam Tolleson
Jr. – INF – 6-3, 195
Houston, Texas (Cypress College)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Spent two years at Cypress College under the tutelage of Scott Pickler
-In sophomore campaign, aided the Chargers to a CCCAA State Championship while hitting .326 with 29 RBI, 28 runs scored and a .412 on-base percentage
-Graduated from Travis High School in 2011 as a member of the National Honor Society and was coached by Rodney Hernandez
-As a senior, was Travis HS’s Player of the Year in both baseball and golf, as well as County Hitter of the Year and All-Houston honors
-Was named Most Improved Player and received all-conference honors as a junior
-Earned 10 letters during high school career; four in baseball, four in golf and two in football

-Born in Glendale, Ariz.
-Son of Larry and Ann Tolleson
-Has two brothers, Chris and Morgan, and one sister, Laura
-Brother, Morgan, played football at Blinn College


Mitchell Tripp
RS So. – RHP – 6-1, 215
Bellingham, Wash. (Lower Columbia College)

Athletic Accomplishments
-A junior college transfer that spent 2013 at Lower Columbia College and 2012 at Oregon State
-Lettered four years in baseball, basketball and football at Meridian High School
-Named to the all-state teams in football (tight end) and baseball (first baseman) as a sophomore
-As a junior, earned all-conference laurels after aiding to the team to a third-place finish at state
-Also named an all-state wide receiver his junior season while helping the basketball team to a runner-up finish in the state
-In his senior season, finished third in baseball while earning all-state and all-conference honors as a pitcher
-Wrapped up his football career with the most career receptions (161), touchdowns (41) and receiving yards (2969) at Meridian

-Born in Bellingham, Wash.
-Son of Carl and Kim Tripp
-Has one older brother, Matthew


Eugene Vazquez
Fr. – INF/OF – 6-2, 205
Orlando, Fla. (Timber Creek HS)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Four-year letterwinner at Timber Creek HS as an outfielder, first baseman and pitcher under coaches Scott Grove and Glenn Finnerty
-Was a member of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) while in high school
-Showed off incredible versatility by winning Timber Creek’s Hitter of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year (twice) all in separate seasons

-Born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico
-Son of Eugenio Vazquez and Evelyn Colon
-Has a brother, Gino, and two sisters, Evana and Marian


Chad Whiteaker
Jr. – INF/OF – 5-10, 195
Henderson, Nev. (College of Southern Nevada)

Athletic Accomplishments
-Spent two years at the College of Southern Nevada in which he made first team all-conference his freshman campaign while hitting .354 with 56 RBI at third base
-Graduated from Green Valley High School in 2011 and manned first, second and third base while playing for head coach Nick Garritano
-As a senior, made second team all-state at third base
-Was a four-year scholar athlete at Green Valley while graduating with an advance honors diploma

-Born in Las Vegas, Nev.
-Son of Jeff and Gina Whiteaker
-Has two brothers, Jake Whiteaker and Anthony Hatch, and one sister, Brittannee Hatch



Fox 35 Reliable One