Gators Lead Country With Five All-Americans

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association released its Preseason All-America Team on Wednesday. Florida placed catcher Mike Zunino, utility player Brian Johnson, relief pitcher Austin Maddox, right fielder Preston Tucker and starting pitcher Karsten Whitson on the team to lead the country with five selections.

Mike Zunino and Brian Johnson were both named to the first team. Zunino won the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year last season when he led the Gators with a .371 batting average and 19 home runs. The first-team catcher had 23 doubles and a .674 slugging percentage to go with a .442 on-base percentage. Zunino made just three errors in 570 chances, a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy.

Johnson was a semifinalist for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award last season and a first-team All-SEC selection. Johnson went 8-3 on the mound with a 3.62 ERA in 79.2 innings. He also hit .307 with five home runs, 29 RBIs and 26 runs scored.

Austin Maddox was a second team selection as a relief pitcher, while Preston Tucker made the second team as the designated hitter. Maddox was 3-0 with a 0.67 ERA and recorded five saves last season. He struck out 21 hitters and walked just three while allowing opponents to hit .198 against him. In five postseason appearances, Maddox didn't allow a run and recorded two saves. Maddox also hit .280 with six home runs and 35 RBIs last season.

Tucker was a first team All-SEC member last season when he hit .308 with 15 home runs and a team-high 74 RBIs. Tucker had eleven extra-base hits in Florida's eleven NCAA Tournament games last season. Tucker is just seven RBIs short of Brad Wilkerson's career record at Florida of 214.

Karsten Whitson was a third team selection after being named National Freshman Pitcher of the Year by Perfect Game and a Freshman All-American by Baseball America, Louisville Slugger and the NCBWA. Whitson was 8-1 with a 2.40 ERA last season while striking out 92 hitters in 97.1 innings.

Despite leading Florida starters with a 2.17 ERA and leading the team with eleven wins, Hudson Randall wasn't named to any team.

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