Monday June 25, 2012Three Gator Baseball Players Earn All-America Recognition From Perfect Game
Florida junior left-hander/designated hitter Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.), junior left-hander Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) and junior catcher Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) were named 2012 All-Americans by Perfect Game on Monday. Johnson and Zunino were first-team honorees and Rodriguez made the third team.
A first-team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and Perfect Game, Johnson was a second-team All-American by Baseball America and Louisville Slugger. Chosen first-team All-SEC for the past two seasons, he was 8-5 with a 3.90 earned run average on the mound and had 73 strikeouts in 90 innings, to go along with a .307 clip, 41 RBI, 24 runs, 13 doubles and six homers.
The southpaw tossed his first career complete game to oust fourth-ranked South Carolina from the SEC Tourney on May 25 and matched his career high with four hits in the semifinal round the following day against Vanderbilt. During the NCAA Gainesville Regional, Johnson limited the high-powered Georgia Tech offense to one run on three hits over five innings on June 3 as the Gators cruised to a 15-3 victory over the Jackets to punch their fourth-straight ticket to Super Regionals. Johnson batted .429 (3-for-7) in the sweep of No. 11 NC State and tied the second encounter with the Wolfpack with a solo homer in the eighth inning of Florida’s eventual 9-8 triumph in 10 innings. He was a first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox, 31st overall.
Zunino, a consensus first-team All-American and the Dick Howser Trophy recipient, 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 at No. 3 overall was 8-for-25 (.320) during the NCAA Tourney with team highs in slugging percentage (.720), RBI (12) and homers (3).
Tabbed an All-American for the first time in his career, Rodriguez was a first-team All-SEC pick to become the first Gator reliever to earn All-SEC accolades since Kevin Chapman was recognized in 2010. The left-hander had a 3-2 record in 34 appearances and paced UF’s pitching corps with 81 strikeouts in 62 innings. Rodriguez registered a 2.18 ERA, notched four saves and limited opponents to a .211 batting average. He racked up 47 strikeouts and issued eight walks in 34.1 innings of work during league play and preserved both wins at third-ranked Kentucky. The southpaw worked 3.1 innings of one-run ball during the winner’s bracket game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional to preserve the 6-2 victory over No. 24 Georgia Tech. He was chosen in the second round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers at No. 82.