UCF Baseball Season Preview Part Seven – Shortstop

Eric Kallstrom has started 161 games his first three seasons in a Knight uniform.
Eric Kallstrom has started 161 games his first three seasons in a Knight uniform.

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

ORLANDO (UCFAthletics.com) – One of the most difficult positions on the diamond, shortstop has been captained by just one individual the last three years for the UCF baseball team. And this year, Eric Kallstrom is back for year No. 4, as UCFAthletics.com previews the Knights’ shortstops for 2009.

Shortstop
Nick Choto – Sr. – .000, 18 GP, 0 GS, 3 AB, 4 R, 1-3 SB
Eric Kallstrom – Sr. – .298, 54 GP, 54 GS, 208 AB, 29 R, 62 H, 10 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 6-8 SB, .961 FLD%
Kyle Mills – Jr. – .263, 29 GP, 4 GS, 38 AB, 7 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1-1 SB

Similar to Kiko Vazquez at first base, Eric Kallstrom has controlled his position since his freshman season in 2006, and once again takes over at shortstop as a senior. Kallstrom started at SS in 92 percent of UCF’s games (160 of 173) from 2006-08, and will likely continue that trend for ’09.

“Eric Kallstrom is set to be our starting shortstop, and I think he is one of the more fundamentally-sound infielders in C-USA,” explained head coach Terry Rooney. “He had a great fall for us, but we expect bigger things out of him. For us to be good, he needs to have the best year that he has ever had here. He has taken that to heart. For him to take his game to the next level, he needs to play at the tempo and style that I want from him. It’ll be a little change for him. We haven’t changed anything mechanically, but we want him to change the way he approaches the game, and the way he does that will dictate a lot of our success this season.

“I feel very good about the rest of the position. Kyle Mills plays solid defense behind Kallstrom, as does Nick Choto. Nick is a guy that really caught our eye this fall. He displays an unbelievable work ethic every single day that he is on the field. When you look at the positives of what kids can do, Nick brings a lot of those positives to the table. He can play infield or outfield, he’s always going 100 miles an hour and he’s great with his short game at the plate. So Choto is a guy who can fill a variety of roles off the bench. He’ll be that guy that when some of the older guys are struggling, I’m going to stick him in there and he will give us a spark.”