Friday October 5, 2012Former Gator Baseball Players In 2012 Major League Baseball Playoffs
University of Florida baseball program will be represented in the 2012 Major
League Baseball Playoffs, as three former Gators helped their teams reach the
postseason. Darren O’Day (2003-06) of the Baltimore Orioles, Ryan
Raburn (2000) of the Detroit Tigers and David Ross (1998) of the Atlanta
Braves will be pursuing a World Series title.
O’Day and the Orioles open postseason play on Friday at 8:37 p.m. against the Texas Rangers in the American League Wild Card playoff game, the O’s first postseason appearance since 1997. The one-game playoff will be televised on TBS. If the Orioles win, they would advance to the A.L. Divisional Series versus the New York Yankees. That best-of-five series would begin on Sunday, Oct. 7, with first pitch set for 6:07 p.m. on TBS.
O’Day has appeared in 69 games for Baltimore this year after being a member of Texas’ pitching staff from 2009-11. The right-hander is 7-1 with a 2.28 earned run average and has registered 69 strikeouts in 67 innings of action. Opponents are batting just .202 against him.
The reliever completed his career at Florida ranked second in appearances (117), fourth in saves (20), tied for seventh in victories (23) and tied for ninth in ERA (3.14). Not only did he pace the team in lowest ERA three-consecutive seasons, O'Day was the Orange and Blue's leader in saves during two of his last three campaigns, highlighted by the 2005 Southeastern Conference title and a runner-up showing at that season’s NCAA College World Series. A finalist for the prestigious H. Boyd McWhorter SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in 2006, he was also a member of the SEC Good Works Team and was chosen to the league's Academic Honor Roll on three occasions.
In addition, O'Day was named to the 2006 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America University Division Baseball team as chosen by members of CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America). A third-team honoree, the Jacksonville native became the fourth Gator to earn Academic All-America acclaim, joining Fred Bretz (1970), Ray Hull (1972) and David Eckstein (1996, 1997). O'Day was also the initial Florida baseball player to earn Academic All-District III recognition three years in a row.
Ross and the Atlanta Braves will also begin their journey to the World Series on Friday, as they face the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Wild Card playoff game. First pitch is set for 5:07 p.m. and the game will be televised on TBS. If the Braves can knock off the defending champion Cardinals on Friday, Atlanta will advance to the N.L. Divisional Series and face the Washington Nationals. The NLDS begins Sunday afternoon, with the game time set for 3:07 p.m. on TBS.
Now in his 11th Major League season, Ross has played in 62 games this year and is hitting .256 with 23 RBI, 18 runs, nine homers and seven doubles. He batted .332 with 69 RBI, 21 doubles and 19 round-trippers in helping the Gators to the 1998 SEC Championship and a berth at that season’s College World Series.
Although he is on the disabled list, Raburn’s Detroit Tigers won the American League Central Division title and start postseason play on Saturday against the Oakland Athletics in the A.L. Division Series. First pitch for Saturday’s game is set for 6:07 p.m. on TBS. Raburn saw action in 66 games, had 14 doubles, scored 14 runs and had a .171 clip for the Tigers in 2012. He was a member of the 2000 Gator squad that was the runner-up at the NCAA Waco (Texas) Regional.
Florida will begin fall practice on Sunday, Oct. 7, at McKethan Stadium and will open its 2013 campaign against Duke on Feb. 15 in Gainesville.