Tuesday October 1, 2013Former Gator Baseball Players In The MLB Playoffs
University of Florida baseball program will be represented in the 2013 Major
League Baseball Playoffs, as four former Gators helped their teams reach the
postseason. Mark Ellis (1996-99) and Paco Rodriguez (2010-12) of
the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ryan Raburn (2000) of the Cleveland Indians and
David Ross (1998) of the Boston Red Sox will be pursuing a World Series
Ellis and Rodriguez from the Dodgers open postseason play on Thursday at 8:37 p.m. against the Atlanta Braves in the best-of-five National League Divisional Series at Turner Field. Ellis had a .270 batting average in 126 games this season, with 48 RBI, 46 runs, 13 doubles and six homers. Over a stellar four-year career with the Orange and Blue in which he earned a pair of Southeastern Conference titles (‘96 & ‘98), three SEC Eastern Division crowns in a row from 1996-98 and made trips to the NCAA College World Series in 1996 and 1998, his name can still be found all over the school’s career charts. Ellis is first in runs scored (240), second in total bases (500), hits (319) and doubles (61), tied for second in at bats (941), fifth in assists (624), tied for seventh in games started (211) and homers (36), eighth in RBI (164), stolen bases (56) and sacrifice bunts (20), tied for ninth in sacrifice flies (12) and 10th in games played (224).
Rodriguez has appeared in 76 games for Los Angeles this year and is 3-4 with a 2.32 earned run average. The left-hander has registered 63 strikeouts in 54.1 innings and opponents are batting just .164 against him. Rodriguez was the first player from the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft class to reach the Majors.
Over his three-year career in Gainesville, he made three-straight trips to the CWS, captured back-to-back SEC titles in 2010 and 2011, compiled a record of 9-4 (.692), totaled seven saves and registered a 2.19 ERA in 86 appearances (seventh on the school’s career list) and two starts. Rodriguez’s career ERA is the lowest by a Gator pitcher since aluminum bats were introduced in 1974 and his total of 10.64 strikeouts per nine innings ranks No.1. He notched 151 strikeouts and allowed 30 walks in 127.2 innings, while holding opponents to a .227 performance, tied for the eighth-lowest by a UF hurler.
Although he was a Gator for just one season, Raburn was a member of the 2000 squad that was second in the SEC East and advanced to the NCAA Waco (Texas) Regional. This season, he batted .272 in 86 games for the Indians, with 55 RBI, 40 runs, 18 doubles and 16 homers. Cleveland will host Tampa Bay in the American League Wild Card game on Wednesday at 8:07 p.m.
Ross and the Boston Red Sox will begin their journey to the World Series on Friday, as they face either the Indians or Rays in the opener of the American League Divisional Series at Fenway Park at 3:07 p.m. Now in his 12th Major League season, Ross has played in 36 games this year and is hitting .216 with 11 runs, 10 RBI, five doubles and four homers. 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.
Florida will begin fall practice on Saturday, Oct. 12, at McKethan Stadium and will open its 2014 campaign on Feb. 14 in Gainesville.