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Tuesday January 15, 2013Seattle Mariners Invite Former Gator Mike Zunino To Spring Training

Gainesville, Fla.

Former Gator Mike Zunino was among the 18 non-roster invitees to spring training recently announced by the Seattle Mariners. Pitchers and catchers will report to Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 12. He had been selected with the No. 3 overall pick in last June’s Major League Baseball Draft, the highest selection in school history.

 

The recipient of the 2012 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, the Dick Howser Trophy and the Johnny Bench Award, Zunino batted .373 (41-for-110) with 35 RBI, 29 runs, 10 homers and 10 doubles in 29 games for the Everett (Wash.) AquaSox, the Class A short-season affiliate of the Mariners, before hitting .333 (17-for-51) with eight RBI, six runs, four doubles and three homers in 15 games for the Jackson (Tenn.) Generals of the Double-A Southern League. Playing for Peoria of the Arizona Fall League, Zunino was a key cog in the Javelinas’ run to the league title and was named to the AFL’s Top Prospects Team. In the championship game, he finished 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI as Peoria edged the Salt River Rafters, 4-3. Baseball America rated him No. 1 on the Mariners’ list of top-10 prospects at the beginning of December and said that he was the best power hitter and the best defensive catcher within the organization.

 

Zunino was Florida’s “Triple Crown” winner last season in helping the Gators to their third-consecutive NCAA College World Series appearance, leading the team in batting average (.322), RBI (67) and homers (19). The Cape Coral, Fla., native 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.

 

According to the final 2012 NCAA statistics, Zunino was first nationally in sacrifice flies, third in doubles, fourth in round-trippers, fifth in total bases, ninth in doubles per game, 10th in RBI and 11th in slugging percentage. A two-time, first-team All-SEC recipient and two-time member of the league’s All-Defensive Team, the three-year starter registered a .994 fielding percentage in his final campaign, with three errors in 510 chances, and threw out 20 runners who attempted to steal on him.

 

Florida will open its season with a three-game series against Duke beginning on Friday, Feb. 15. Season tickets can be purchased online at www.GatorZone.com/tickets or by calling the Gator Ticket Office at 1-800-34-GATOR from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

 

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