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Meet The Newest Knights Added to UCF Baseball’s 2021 Roster

The 2021 recruiting class features seven pitchers, two outfielders, two infielders and a catcher

UCF Baseball
The UCF Baseball team hopes to do plenty of celebrating this weekend against Wichita State. (Photo: Derek Warden)
Photo: Derek Warden

Twelve UCF Knights were added to UCF Baseball’s 2021 roster on Monday.

There are seven pitchers, two outfielders, two infielders and a catcher. Two players are graduate transfers while the other 10 are freshmen.

“I’m really excited about the talent and depth of this class,” head coach Greg Lovelady said. “The staff did a great job of evaluating and identifying talent that could really help continue the growth of the program.”

Lovelady is entering his fifth season as the Knights’ head coach with an overall record of 126-68.

The 2020 baseball season was cut short in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic after an 18-game season. The Knights finished the season 15-3 overall. The final D1Baseball.com Top 25 of the season ranked UCF at No. 12.

The new dozen is replacing a departed nine players from the 2020 squad, including two who went to the pros. RHP Jeff Hakanson was taken in the 2020 MLB Draft as the 155th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Rays and RHP Trevor Holloway signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees. The Rays and the Yankees both clinched playoff berths this season.

“The two [grad transfers] on the mound really fill the two major holes left by Jeff [Hakanson] and Trevor [Holloway]’s departure,” Lovelady said. “And with not losing many offense pieces, we bring in some really talented kids that are going to push for playing time and challenge the returners.

“The whole class really sets the foundation for the future of our program.”

Here are the 12 newest Knights ready to hit the field:

2021 UCF Baseball Recruit Class

Pos. # Name Year Ht. Wt. Hometown School
Pos. # Name Year Ht. Wt. Hometown School
RHP 4 Vince Bonanni Fr. 6-3 195 Jupiter, Fla. Cardinal Newman
RHP 8 AJ Jones Sr. 6-5 220 Sarasota, Fla. Jacksonville University
RHP 11 Kenny Serwa R-Jr. 6-1 192 Chicago, Ill. Saint Patrick
RHP 14 JoJo Coffey Fr. 5-11 175 Winter Garden, Fla. Montverde Academy
RHP 15 Zack Bennett Fr. 6-0 220 Port Orange, Fla. Spruce Creek
LHP 20 Hunter Parris Fr. 5-10 150 Vero Beach, Fla. Vero Beach
OF/C 22 Colin Flynn Fr. 6-1 190 Coral Springs, Fla. Marjory Stoneman Douglas
INF 24 Alex Freeland Fr. 6-2 200 Cape Coral, Fla. Mariner
1B/C 30 Matthew Menendez Fr. 6-2 195 Pembroke Pines, Fla. Elite Squad Baseball Academy
RHP 35 Nick Vieira Fr. 6-6 220 Margate, Fla. Elite Squad Baseball Academy
RHP 37 Ben Vespi Fr. 6-3 190 Boynton Beach, Fla. Central Florida Elev8
INF 42 John Montes Fr. 6-0 170 Toa Alta, Puerto Rico Leadership Christian Academy

Here’s the full 2021 UCF baseball roster:

2021 UCF Baseball Roster

Pos. # Name Year Ht. Wt. Hometown
Pos. # Name Year Ht. Wt. Hometown
RHP 4 Vince Bonanni Fr. 6-3 195 Jupiter, Fla.
RHP 8 AJ Jones Sr. 6-5 220 Sarasota, Fla.
RHP 11 Kenny Serwa R-Jr. 6-1 192 Chicago, Ill.
RHP 14 JoJo Coffey Fr. 5-11 175 Winter Garden, Fla.
RHP 15 Zack Bennett Fr. 6-0 220 Port Orange, Fla.
LHP 20 Hunter Parris Fr. 5-10 150 Vero Beach, Fla.
OF/C 22 Colin Flynn Fr. 6-1 190 Coral Springs, Fla.
INF 24 Alex Freeland Fr. 6-2 200 Cape Coral, Fla.
1B/C 30 Matthew Menendez Fr. 6-2 195 Pembroke Pines, Fla.
RHP 35 Nick Vieira Fr. 6-6 220 Margate, Fla.
RHP 37 Ben Vespi Fr. 6-3 190 Boynton Beach, Fla.
INF 42 John Montes Fr. 6-0 170 Toa Alta, Puerto Rico
RHP 1 David Litchfield R-Jr. 6-0 175 Longwood, Fla.
INF 2 Matt Archer Fr. 5-9 185 Fort Salonga, NY
LHP 3 Nick Gottilla Fr. 6-0 176 Davenport, Iowa
UTIL 5 Trent Taylor Jr. 6-0 185 Merritt Island, Fla.
INF 6 Tom Josten So. 6-2 200 Palatine, Ill.
UTIL 7 Jordan Rathbone Sr. 5-11 200 Spokane, Wash.
LHP 10 Colton Gordon R-So. 6-4 225 Bradenton, Fla.
RHP 12 Jack Sinclair Jr. 6-4 170 Coral Springs, Fla.
RHP 13 Billy McKay R-Jr. 6-1 205 Plant City, Fla.
LHP 16 Hunter Patteson Fr. 6-4 170 Vero Beach, Fla.
1B 17 Nick Romano Jr. 6-3 234 Tampa, Fla.
RHP 18 Zack Hunsicker So. 6-4 230 Wentzville, Mo.
INF 21 Noah Orlando Jr. 6-0 180 Orlando, Fla.
RHP 25 Nolan Lepkoske R-Fr. 6-5 260 Jacksonville, Fla.
INF 26 Andrew Brait Fr. 5-8 176 Melbourne, Fla.
OF 27 Gephry Pena So. 6-0 165 Santiago, Dominican Republic
LHP 28 Ryan Saltonstall R-Jr. 6-0 195 Phoenix, Ariz.
UTIL 29 Pablo Ruiz Fr. 5-9 190 West Palm Beach, Fla.
RHP 31 Elijah McCormack Fr. 6-3 173 Coppell, Tx.
UTIL 32 Ben Rushing R-Fr. 6-0 205 Weston, Fla.
LHP 33 Keegan Pulford-Thorpe Fr. 6-2 206 Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
INF 39 Connor Allen R-So. 6-4 225 Merritt Island, Fla.
C 40 Ben McCabe So. 6-0 180 Sarasota, Fla.
C 44 Josh Crouch Jr. 6-1 200 Sebring, Fla.

Daniella Medina is a contributing writer for Black & Gold Banneret. Follow her on Twitter @danimedinanews.