Monday March 12, 2012UF Baseball's Mike Zunino Named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week
Florida junior catcher Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) was chosen as one of the Louisville Slugger National Players of the Week by Collegiate Baseball on Monday for the first time in his career after helping the top-ranked Gators (15-1) to a perfect 5-0 week. It marked just the 10th time in school history that a University of Florida player had received the honor, first since current junior Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) was tabbed on Feb. 28, 2011.
Zunino joined Texas A&M Corpus Christi right-hander Daniel Minor (struck out 14 batters during a 1-0 win over Texas-San Antonio, allowing four hits and one walk in a complete-game shutout), UC Riverside right-hander Eddie Orozco (struck out 15 batters during a 1-0 win over Sacramento State; had a perfect game heading into the seventh inning and settled for a complete game three-hitter) and Oklahoma State second baseman Eddie Rea (belted three homers and was 5-for-5 with 16 total bases and nine RBI against Alabama A&M and knocked in 10 runs over four games last week in going 7-for-16) in being recognized by the publication.
Zunino went 7-for-18 (.389) with 11 RBI, five runs, four round-trippers and a slugging percentage of 1.111 as the Gators increased their winning streak to 13 games and notched the best start in school history. In a 16-1 victory over Florida Atlantic on March 6, he tallied five RBI with homers in both the first and second innings and was 3-for-3 while playing only four innings. During the Gators’ series opener against Florida Gulf Coast last Friday night, Zunino belted a game-tying two-run homer in the sixth and delivered a two-run shot with two down in the eighth to lift the Orange and Blue to a 4-2 triumph. He jump-started UF’s four-run first inning on Saturday with a two-run single and was 2-for-5 in the 8-3 win over the Eagles that clinched the series.
The 2011 SEC Player of the Year is off to a strong start, leading the league in slugging percentage (.879), total bases (51) and homers (seven) and he paces the Gator offense in batting average (.414), hits (24), runs (17, tied with Nolan Fontana), doubles (six) and on-base percentage (.462).
Rated No. 1 in the polls released this afternoon by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and USA Today/ESPN, the Gators will face No. 6 Florida State (14-1) on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at McKethan Stadium. Freshman left-hander Bobby Poyner (Wellington, Fla.) (1-0, 1.04) will make his second start of the season against Seminole freshman right-hander Luke Weaver (0-0, 20.77).
This Florida-Florida State baseball game is part of the Fresh from Florida Sunshine Showdown Series. Presented by Fresh from Florida, its goal is to remind all fans of the importance of buying home grown and harvested products from Florida. It supports our state’s farmers and fishermen, and our local economies.