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Tuesday May 29, 2012UF's Mike Zunino Named Semifinalist For Golden Spikes Award

Gainesville, Fla.

University of Florida junior catcher Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) was named as one of 30 semifinalists for the 2012 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award (GSA) on Tuesday for the second year in a row. This marks the 35th consecutive year that the award has been presented to the nation’s top amateur baseball player.

 

A semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award and the Dick Howser Trophy who was the 2011 SEC Player of the Year and a 2012 first-team All-SEC selection, Zunino leads the Gators in batting average (.323), total bases (146), RBI (55), doubles (27), sacrifice flies (8) and slugging percentage (.664). A two-time first-team All-SEC recipient and two-time member of the league’s All-Defensive Team, he has registered a .993 fielding percentage, with three errors in 452 chances, and has thrown out almost a third of the runners who have attempted to steal on him.

 

GoldenSpikesAward.com -- powered by MLB.com -- will once again be the online home for the award. The Web site features content devoted exclusively to the GSA, including news, voting history, past winner photo galleries, and photographs and video highlights for the 2012 semifinalists. Fans can follow online at GoldenSpikesAward.com as the list of 30 players is narrowed to three finalists on Tuesday, June 5.

 

For the second year in a row, the GSA will be awarded live on MLB Network. On Friday, July 6, the three finalists for the award will be at MLB Network’s studios for the presentation on The Rundown, which will feature interviews, video highlights and the announcement of the winner. The presentation will also be simulcast live on GoldenSpikesAward.com and MLB.com.

 

Michael Roth (South Carolina) and Zunino were semifinalists for the 2011 GSA and return to the list for 2012. Texas A&M tops all schools with three semifinalists, Florida State and LSU each have two, and in total 26 colleges and universities are represented on the list. Among conferences, the SEC leads with six players, while the ACC and Big 12 have five and the Pac-12 has four. Juniors are tops with 16 semifinalists and they are joined by five sophomores and eight seniors. Carlos Rodon (North Carolina State) is the only freshman on the list.

 

In 2007, USA Baseball instituted a new selection and balloting procedure for the most prestigious award in amateur baseball, and it will follow the same model again in 2012. After working closely with sports information directors and amateur baseball media across the country to determine watch lists and the top-performing athletes, a committee voted to determine the 30 semifinalists. A ballot featuring the names and accomplishments of the 30 semifinalists will now be sent to a group of more than 215 voters which will select the three finalists and eventual winner. Beginning today, fans will also be able to vote on the 2012 GSA by visiting GoldenSpikesAward.com and selecting their favorite amateur player.

 

“USA Baseball congratulates each of the 30 student-athletes and their respective baseball programs," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO. “The move to MLB Network last year was a significant step toward increasing exposure for the award among players, schools and fans, and we look forward to building on that excitement for 2012. We wish all of the semifinalists the best of luck.”

 

Important 2012 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award dates include:

  • Thursday, Feb. 16 -- 50-man preseason Watch List released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
  • Tuesday, May 1 -- 60-man midseason Watch List released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
  • Tuesday, May 29 -- 30 semifinalists announced, selected by USA Baseball officials, semifinalist voting begins, voters select three
  • Friday, June 1 -- Deadline to vote for finalists, 5 p.m. ET
  • Tuesday, June 5 -- Three finalists announced, finalist voting begins, voters to select one
  • Friday, June 15 -- Deadline to vote for winner, 5 p.m. ET
  • Friday, July 6 -- Live Golden Spikes Award presentation in-studio on MLB Network’s The Rundown

 

A complete list of the 30 2012 Golden Spikes Award semifinalists is as follows:

 

Name, Position, Class, School, Conference

Mark Appel, RHP, Junior, Stanford, Pac-12

Sean Bignall, OF, Senior, Arkansas-Little Rock, Sun Belt

Jayce Boyd, IF, Junior, Florida State, ACC

Kris Bryant, IF, Sophomore, San Diego, WCC

Kevin Gausman, RHP, Sophomore, LSU, SEC

Jeff Gelalich, OF, Junior, UCLA, Pac-12

Marco Gonzales, LHP/IF, Sophomore, Gonzaga, WCC

Andrew Heaney, LHP, Junior, Oklahoma State, Big 12

Kurt Heyer, RHP, Junior, Arizona, Pac-12

Goose Kallunki, IF, Senior, Utah Valley, Great West

Daniel Kassouf, IF, Senior, Appalachian State, SoCon

Alex Keudell, RHP, Senior, Oregon, Pac-12

Trenton Moses, IF, RS-Junior, Southeast Missouri, Ohio Valley

Tyler Naquin, OF, Junior, Texas A&M, Big 12

D.J. Peterson, IF, Sophomore, New Mexico, Mountain West

Nick Petree, RHP, RS-Sophomore, Missouri State, Missouri Valley

Kevin Plawecki, C, Junior, Purdue, Big Ten

Danny Poma, OF, Senior, Hofstra, CAA

James Ramsey, OF, Senior, Florida State, ACC

Raph Rhymes, OF, Junior, LSU, SEC

Carlos Rodon, LHP, Freshman, North Carolina State, ACC

Michael Roth, LHP, Senior, South Carolina, SEC

Richie Shaffer, IF, Junior, Clemson, ACC

Chris Stratton, RHP, Junior, Mississippi State, SEC

Ross Stripling, RHP, Senior, Texas A&M, Big 12

Marcus Stroman, RHP, Junior, Duke, ACC

Josh Turley, LHP, Junior, Baylor, Big 12

Michael Wacha, RHP, Junior, Texas A&M, Big 12

Alex Yarbrough, IF, Junior, Ole Miss, SEC

Mike Zunino, C, Junior, FLORIDA, SEC

 

No. 1 Florida (42-18) opens the 2012 NCAA Tournament on Friday at 7 p.m. by hosting fourth-seeded Bethune-Cookman (34-25) in the second game of the double-elimination Gainesville Regional to be held at McKethan Stadium. Second-seeded Georgia Tech (36-24) meets third-seeded College of Charleston (37-20) at 1 p.m.

 

For all of the latest information on Florida baseball, log on to http://www.gatorzone.com/baseball/ or follow the team’s Twitter account @GatorZoneBB at ww.twitter.com/GatorZoneBB

 

 

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