Thursday June 21, 2012Four Gator Baseball Players Earn All-South Region Honors From ABCA
Florida junior right-hander Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.), junior right-hander Hudson Randall (Atlanta. Ga.), senior right fielder Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) and junior catcher Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) were named All-South Region on Thursday by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings. The four selections match the highest total in school history (1978, 1979, 1991, 1996, 2005, 2011).
Tucker and Zunino were voted onto the first team for the second-straight year and joined a select group of Gators who earned first-team recognition multiple times: Jim Watkins (1978-79), Scott Ruskin (1984-85) and Matt LaPorta (2005 & 2007). Randall was a second-team pick for the second year in a row and Maddox was on the second team as well.
Named the first-team catcher on the squad, Zunino continues to pile up the accolades, as the first-team ABCA/Rawlings, Louisville Slugger and NCBWA All-American became Florida’s first-ever Dick Howser Trophy recipient last week and is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Johnny Bench Award. He finished as the Gators’ “Triple Crown” winner, leading the team in batting average (.322), RBI (67) and homers (19), and paced the Orange and Blue in total bases (164), doubles (28), sacrifice flies (11) and slugging percentage (.669). He was also 9-for-10 on the basepaths. A two-time, first-team All-SEC recipient and two-time member of the league’s All-Defensive Team, Zunino registered a .994 fielding percentage, with three errors in 510 chances, and threw out 20 runners who attempted to steal on him.
Zunino was voted to the NCAA Gainesville Regional All-Tournament Team for the third-consecutive season after belting homers in consecutive games against No. 24 Georgia Tech and he led the Gators with a .500 (4-for-8) clip in the pair of victories over NC State that punched Florida’s return ticket to Omaha. The first-round pick of the Seattle Mariners was 8-for-25 (.320) during the NCAA Tourney with team highs in slugging percentage (.720), RBI (12) and homers (3).
Tucker achieved first-team status again after hitting .321 with 57 runs, 50 RBI, 35 walks, 17 doubles and 16 round-trippers in his final collegiate campaign. The seventh-round selection of the Houston Astros and All-American departs Gainesville as the school’s all-time leader in games played (265), games started (259), total bases (596), at bats (1,035), hits (341), RBI (258) and doubles (70).
Tucker was a first-team All-SEC selection in 2012 after being a first-team choice last season and a second-team pick in 2010. He was the 2009 SEC Co-Freshman of the Year with LSU’s Matty Ott. Tucker powered UF’s offense this month with a .393 (11-for-28) performance in NCAA play and became the first Gator to achieve Regional All-Tournament status all four years of his career. He is the lone UF player to earn Most Outstanding Player recognition twice (2009 & 2011). In 30 career NCAA Tourney games, Tucker batted .368 (46-for-125) and holds school records in career at bats (125), hits (46), RBI (31), runs (29), homers (11) and doubles (10).
A third-team All-American by the NCBWA, Maddox was named the closer on the ABCA South Region second team after collecting 12 saves and compiling a 3-3 record with a 2.44 earned run average. In 32 appearances covering 55.1 innings, the right-hander registered 57 strikeouts and issued 11 walks, while limiting opponents to a .206 batting average. He was taken in the third round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox.
Randall earned second-team accolades for the second year in a row after going 9-3 with a 2.59 ERA in 16 starts. Over a team-high 94 innings, the righty totaled 62 strikeouts and permitted just 10 walks. Randall twirled a three-hit shutout to defeat Auburn and notched wins over Georgia Tech in the NCAA Gainesville Regional and NC State in the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional. He surrendered two runs or less in 12 of his 16 outings this year and was 5-1 with a 2.52 ERA in SEC action. The righty was selected in the seventh round a few weeks ago by the Detroit Tigers.