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Tuesday May 25, 2010Gators Collect Numerous SEC Baseball Awards

Hoover, Ala.

University of Florida third baseman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and Kevin O’Sullivan was selected as the SEC Coach of the Year in a vote of the league’s 12 head baseball coaches announced on Tuesday. Junior left-hander Kevin Chapman (Coral Springs, Fla.) was chosen first-team All-SEC and the quartet of senior outfielder Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), freshman shortstop Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.), Maddox and sophomore first baseman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) earned second-team recognition. The four Florida players on the second team were the program’s most since 2002, when Ryan Shealy (1B), Aaron Davidson (2B), Mark Kiger (SS) and Aaron Sobieraj (OF) were recognized.

 

The Gators placed five players in six spots on the All-Freshman Team, Fontana, Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) (both as a pitcher and designated hitter), Maddox, right-hander Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) and catcher Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.). In addition, den Dekker was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team for the third year in a row and was joined by teammates Fontana and Tucker.

 

Maddox became the second-straight Gator to earn the SEC Freshman of the Year recognition, as Tucker shared the award last season with LSU’s Matty Ott. In league play, Maddox batted .316, tied for third with 11 home runs and tied for fifth with 33 RBI. The slugger is hitting .346 overall and boasts team highs in slugging percentage (.654), RBI (64), multiple-RBI games (18), homers (17), doubles (15) and sacrifice flies (five). He became the first Florida third baseman to achieve All-SEC status since Pat Osborn collected first-team kudos in 2002.

 

O’Sullivan piloted the Gators to their first SEC Championship since 2005 with a 22-8 league record. He became the sixth different individual from Florida to take home the SEC Baseball Coach of the Year Award. Dave Fuller was recognized on three occasions (1952, 1956, 1962), while Jack Rhine (1981, 1982) and Joe Arnold (1984, 1988) received the honor twice apiece. Andy Lopez earned the accolade after directing the Orange and Blue to the 1996 crown and Pat McMahon garnered the honor after guiding UF to the ’05 title.

 

Chapman was Florida’s lone representative on the first team as a relief pitcher after going 3-0 with seven saves and a 1.59 earned run average. Named the SEC Pitcher of the Week for the first time in his career on Monday after helping the fourth-ranked Gators clinch the league title at No. 6 South Carolina, the southpaw is 3-0 with a 1.14 ERA and has totaled 40 K in 39.1 innings, while limiting opponents to a .169 batting average. Chapman has not surrendered an earned run over the last 11.0 innings covering seven appearances, with 12 strikeouts and just one walk. His 10 saves on the season are tied for sixth-most in school history, three shy of the mark shared by Josh Fogg (1998) and Danny Wheeler (1994).

 

den Dekker, who led the squad in batting average (.342), hits (39), runs (28) and stolen bases (14-for-19) in conference action, earned All-SEC honors for the second time after being a first-team pick as a sophomore in 2008. He was also a member of the SEC’s All-Freshman Team in 2007. Enjoying a tremendous final campaign, the center fielder has posted team highs with a .361 clip, 55 runs, 24 multiple-hit games and 21 thefts in 26 attempts, to go along with 40 RBI and a career-high 11 dingers. den Dekker was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team for the third-consecutive year, a claim that only Alabama third baseman Jake Smith can make since the team was established in 2008.

 

Fontana became the first Gator shortstop to earn All-SEC since Justin Tordi accomplished the feat as a junior in 2005. Boasting a .991 fielding percentage, with just two errors in 227 chances this year, Fontana earned SEC Freshman of the Week recognition on both March 8 and May 17 and was named to the league’s All-Defensive Team. He has a .284 batting average in 52 games and has drawn a team-high 41 walks, with 44 runs, 13 doubles and nine stolen bases in 13 opportunities.

 

Tucker has followed up his Freshman All-American season with a solid sophomore year and was rewarded with All-SEC honors for the first time. He turned in a .312 average with 21 RBI, 20 runs, nine doubles and six homers in SEC play and is hitting .343 with 43 runs, 40 RBI, 39 walks, 14 two-baggers, nine homers and seven stolen bases in 53 games. Tucker sports a .990 fielding percentage and has been part of 28 double plays to earn a spot on the All-Defensive Team.

 

A double threat for opponents, Johnson made the league’s All-Freshman Team at two positions, starting pitcher and designated hitter. Named to the 25-player Watch List for the annual John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, he was the SEC Freshman of the Week on April 5 and May 3. Johnson is 5-3 with a 3.62 ERA and has registered 42 strikeouts in 59.2 innings on the mound. At the plate, he has a .357 (20-for-56) batting average with 12 RBI, including grand slams against defending national champion LSU and Alabama. In league play, Johnson had a 4-2 mark with a 3.00 ERA and hit .362 (17-for-47) with nine RBI and seven runs.

 

Having collected SEC Freshman of the Week twice, March 1 and April 12, Randall led the league with a 2.63 ERA in conference games. In 10 SEC starts, the righty was 4-2 and posted victories over Tennessee, No. 4 Arkansas, No. 9 LSU and Alabama. Over a team-high 13 starts, Randall has a 6-3 mark with a 2.99 ERA and is second on the club with 52 strikeouts.

 

Earning the Gators’ starting job at catcher as a freshman, Zunino has not only managed the pitching staff but come through with several timely hits. He provided walk-off RBI singles in triumphs over USF (Feb. 21) and No. 4 Arkansas (April 24) and delivered a game-winning sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to defeat Georgia, 4-3, on May 14. Zunino powered Florida with a .500 (6-for-12) average in the series win at Alabama and went 5-for-11 (.455) in the sweep of LSU. He has a .273 clip with 35 RBI, eight homers and six doubles.

 

Auburn junior first baseman Hunter Morris was selected as the 2010 SEC Baseball Player of the Year, Ole Miss left hander Drew Pomeranz was named SEC Pitcher of the Year and Cory Luckie of Auburn was named the SEC Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

  

The complete 2010 All-SEC Team follows:

 

SEC Player of the Year: Hunter Morris, Auburn

SEC Pitcher of the Year: Drew Pomeranz, Ole Miss

SEC Freshman of the Year: Austin Maddox, FLORIDA

SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Cory Luckie, Auburn

SEC Coach of the Year: Kevin O'Sullivan, FLORIDA                                                                       

 

First Team                         

1B - Hunter Morris, Auburn          

2B - Anthony Gomez, Vanderbilt               

3B - Zack Cox, Arkansas

SS - Josh Rutledge, Alabama

C - Micah Gibbs, LSU     

OF - Taylor Dugas, Alabama          

OF - Trent Mummey, Auburn      

OF - Brian Fletcher, Auburn

DH - Kevin Patterson, Auburn     

P - Blake Cooper , South Carolina 

P - Drew Pomeranz, Ole Miss                      

RP - Kevin Chapman, FLORIDA

 

Second Team                                   

1B - Preston Tucker, FLORIDA

2B - Chris Bisson, Kentucky

3B - Austin Maddox, FLORIDA

SS - Austin Nola, LSU

SS - Nolan Fontana, FLORIDA        

C - Ryan Jenkins, Auburn

OF - Matt den Dekker, FLORIDA

OF - Brett Eibner, Arkansas

OF - Jackie Bradley, Jr., South Carolina      

DH - Matt Gaudet, LSU

P - Drew Smyly, Arkansas              

P - Grant Dayton, Auburn

P - Sonny Gray, Vanderbilt

RP - Matt Price, South Carolina

RP - Brett Huber, Ole Miss

 

All-Freshman Team                                     

1B - Christian Walker, South Carolina        

2B - Anthony Gomez, Vanderbilt

3B - Austin Maddox, FLORIDA

SS - Nolan Fontana, FLORIDA

C - Mike Zunino, FLORIDA

OF - Andrew Miller, Alabama       

OF - Evan Marzilli, South Carolina

OF - Chris Fritts, Tennessee

OF - Connor Harrell, Vanderbilt

DH - Brian Johnson, FLORIDA          

P - Hudson Randall, FLORIDA           

P - Brian Johnson, FLORIDA 

P - Chris Stratton, Mississippi State         

RP - Brett Huber, Ole Miss

RP - Matt Price, South Carolina

 

All-Defensive Team

P - Sonny Gray, Vanderbilt

1B - Preston Tucker, FLORIDA        

2B - Scott Wingo, South Carolina

SS - Nolan Fontana, FLORIDA

3B - Jake Smith, Alabama

C - Micah Gibbs, LSU      

OF - Matt den Dekker, FLORIDA   

OF - Trent Mummey, Auburn      

OF - Jackie Bradley, Jr., South Carolina

 

-UF-

 

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