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Wednesday June 9, 2010Four Baseball Players Collect Freshman All-American Honors

Tucson, Ariz.

Florida shortstop Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.), left-hander/designated hitter Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.), third baseman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) and right-hander Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.) were named to the 2010 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America Team chosen by Collegiate Baseball newspaper on Wednesday. The four honorees from head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s club was the highest total in school history.

 

A second-team All-SEC recipient who was also a member of the league’s All-Freshman and All-Defensive Teams, Fontana has started 59 games at shortstop and is fourth on the squad with a .287 average with 51 runs, a team-high 48 walks, 23 RBI, 14 doubles and 10 stolen bases. He has committed just three errors in 265 chances for a .989 fielding percentage and was picked as the SEC Freshman of the Week on March 1 and April 12. Last weekend, Fontana picked up All-Tourney recognition at the NCAA Gainesville Regional after batting .455 (5-for-11) with a team-best five walks, four runs and three RBI. He went 2-for-4 with two runs and a pair of walks in the title game against Florida Atlantic and led off the meeting with Oregon State by bashing a homer­ to right center. Fontana delivered a two-run single versus Bethune-Cookman and was 2-for-4 in the 7-3 victory.

 

Johnson made the SEC’s All-Freshman Team as both a starting pitcher and at designated hitter. He has been the Gators’ DH in 24 games and is batting .411 (30-for-73) with 16 RBI, 13 runs, nine walks, five doubles, four homers and two grand slams. Johnson was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on April 5 and again on May 3 and was chosen to the Watch List for the John Olerud Award presented to the nation’s best two-way player. The dual threat was tabbed as the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Gainesville Regional after going 5-for-8 (.625) at the plate and twirling seven shutout innings in the championship game. Johnson went 3-for-5 with a leadoff homer in the third inning on Sunday night and was 2-for-3 with his first career triple in the win over Oregon State.

 

Chosen as the SEC’s Freshman of the Year, Maddox earned second-team All-SEC recognition and was named to the league’s All-Freshman Team. He has started 59 games in four differ­ent spots - third base (26), designated hitter (18), first base (14) and catcher (1). The slugger is hitting .339 and holds the top spot in RBI (68), multi-RBI games (20), homers (17), hit-by-pitches (eight) and sac­rifice flies (five), in addition to scoring 47 runs and poking 15 doubles. Maddox hit .333 (5-for-15) with three runs and a couple of RBI in last weekend’s Regional. He delivered a 3-for-5 effort in the win over Oregon State that featured a two-out, two-run single in the third inning and opened the tourney by going 2-for-5 and scored twice versus Bethune-Cookman.

 

Another member of the SEC All-Freshman Team, Randall earned Freshman of the Week twice, March 1 and April 12, and 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 15 starts, Randall has an 8-3 mark with a 2.97 ERA and is second on the club with 63 strikeouts. In his last outing, the righty had a career-high 10 strikeouts over 7.1 innings to defeat B-CU and was chosen to the All-Tournament Team.

 

The fourth-ranked Gators (45-15) will host No. 11 Miami (Fla.) (43-18) in NCAA Super Regional action at McKethan Stadium starting on Friday at 7 p.m., live on ESPN. The clubs will meet in a best-of-three series, with the winner advancing to the NCAA College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

 

Collegiate Baseball’s Freshman Pitcher of The Year was left-hander Matt Purke of TCU (13-0, 3.40 ERA, 122 strikeouts) and its Freshman Player of The Year was outfielder Jeremy Baltz of St. John’s (.396, 85 RBI, 24 homers, 16 doubles).

 

-UF-

 

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