Monday March 19, 2012UF Baseball's Preston Tucker Named SEC Player Of The Week
University of Florida senior outfielder Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) was chosen as the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday for the first time in his career after helping the top-ranked Gators (19-1/3-0 SEC) to a three-game sweep of Eastern Division rival Vanderbilt to begin SEC play. Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s club extended its winning streak to a program-best 17 games.
Tucker batted .400 (6-for-15) in Florida’s four victories last week, including a team-best .364 during the Gators’ first sweep of the Commodores since 2008. Five of his six hits went for extra bases, with three homers and two triples, and he collected nine RBI, scored six runs and drew two walks. The two-time All-SEC selection boasted a slugging percentage of 1.267 and an on-base percentage of .500.
Last Tuesday, Tucker turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead with a three-run homer in the third inning against No. 6 Florida State and was 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs in the 9-2 victory that snapped the Seminoles’ 10-game winning streak. He then opened SEC play by going 2-for-5 with three RBI on Friday night, delivering a run-scoring single as part of a five-run fifth and roping a two-triple in the seventh. Tucker blasted a two-run homer in the Gators’ four-run fifth on Saturday, when he was 1-for-3, and connected on a solo shot and was 1-for-3 with a pair of runs in Sunday’s finale. On the season, Tucker is hitting .321 with a team-leading eight home runs, has totaled 22 RBI and scored 20 runs.
Mississippi State junior right-hander Chris Stratton was the league’s Pitcher of the Week, while Kentucky left-hander/first baseman A.J. Reid was the league’s Freshman of the Week. The No. 1 Gators return to action on Tuesday at 7 p.m. to face Samford (13-7) at McKethan Stadium.