ORLANDO, Fla. - ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) – One of the best hitters in UCF baseball history has found a home. Infielder Chris Taladay began his journey in the professional ranks Friday when he signed a free-agent contract with the Detroit Tigers.
A mainstay in UCF’s lineup the past four seasons, Taladay could not be more grateful for the opportunity that was recently presented to him.
“It feels amazing to know that my dreams of playing professional baseball have come true," Taladay said after he signed his contract. "It is very satisfying knowing that all of my hard work has given me this opportunity, and I plan to make the best of it.
"UCF played a large roll in making me the player I am today. Not only did the program help me grow on the field, but also as an individual. Without all of my teammates and coaches, I wouldn't be where I am today."
Taladay is the third Knight to sign a professional contract following the 2013 campaign. He joins teammates RHP Ben Lively (4th round/Cincinnati) and Chris Matulis (free agent/Milwaukee) in the professional ranks. The trio became the 19-21 players to ink a pro deal since head coach Terry Rooney arrived in summer 2008. Taladay is also the 113th player out of UCF to either be drafted or sign a free-agent contract since the program’s inception in 1973.
A native of Windermere, Taladay leaves the program as one of the most decorated players all-time. He is one of just four in Conference USA history to earn the league’s Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year awards in a career.
He also wrapped up his four years ranking sixth all-time at UCF in hits (273), games started (206) and doubles (50), fourth in at-bats (854) and eighth in RBI (159). After the 2013 campaign, in which he hit a team-best .342, Taladay concluded his career with a .320 average.