Gator Baseball Well Represented On Day One

U of F junior shortstop Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.), junior catcher Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.), junior outfielder Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.), junior first baseman Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) and four signees were selected Tuesday on day one of the Major League Baseball draft that lasted 18 rounds and featured 556 selections.

The 50-round draft will resume Wednesday at noon ET and can be followed at MLB.com.

"We are excited about having so many players selected in the draft," said head coach Pat McMahon. "This speaks well for our program and incoming recruiting class. I am especially happy for these young men and their families. This is an important day, as each baseball player grows up dreaming of having a professional career. The draft process is the first step in realizing those dreams."

Davis was chosen by the Cleveland Indians in the third round with the 101st pick overall. A first-team All-SEC selection and a third-team All-American as a sophomore, he moved from second base to shortstop this season and batted .295 overall and .317 in league action. Davis led the Gators in hits (66), doubles (11), runs (44) and stolen bases (nine) this year and finished with 37 runs batted in and six homers. Over his time at Florida, he has a .307 batting average, 187 runs, 124 RBI, 55 thefts, 37 doubles and 24 round-trippers.

One of the top defensive catchers in the nation, Jeroloman was taken in the sixth round by the Toronto Blue Jays at pick number 180. Named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List two years in a row, he threw out 18 runners attempting to steal in 2006 and caught all 56 games behind the dish for the Orange and Blue. Jeroloman hit .242 and rated second on the squad with 39 RBI. He also drew a team-high 38 walks and contributed seven doubles and six home runs. The second-team All-SEC choice in '05 sports a .285 clip at UF, with 123 walks, 115 RBI, 22 doubles and 15 home runs. His older brother, Chuck, is currently playing for the Wilmington (Del.) Blue Rocks, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

Selected in the 12th round, 351st overall by the Seattle Mariners, Dickey enjoyed a breakout junior season for Florida. He posted career bests in batting average (.304), RBI (41), home runs (11), stolen bases (eight) and triples (two). The center fielder tied Davis with a team-high 18 multiple-hit games and matched LaPorta for the top spot with 11 multiple-RBI outings. Dickey put together a career-high 11-game hitting streak between April 2 and April 28.

The 2005 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, LaPorta was chosen by the Boston Red Sox in the 14th round with the 433rd pick overall. A consensus first-team All-American as a sophomore, when he led Division I with 26 homers and drove in 79 runs, LaPorta missed 13 games with an oblique muscle strain and hit .259 over 43 games. The slugger led the Gators with 14 homers and a .410 on-base percentage and rated third with 38 RBI. Over his three-year collegiate career, LaPorta boasts a .298 average, is one homer shy of matching Brad Wilkerson's school standard of 55 homers and is sixth on UF's career list with 154 RBI.

Florida had two signees selected in the first round, as right-handed pitcher Colton Willems (Fort Pierce, Fla.) was taken 22nd by the Washington Nationals and infielder Adrian Cardenas (Miami Lakes, Fla.) went 37th as a supplemental pick to Philadelphia. Shortstop Chase Fontaine (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) went 72nd overall to the Atlanta Braves during the second round and right-hander Brandon Holden (Coral Springs, Fla.) was taken by Pittsburgh with the 380th overall pick in the 13th round.

Teams do not lose the rights to their selections until one week prior to the next draft, or until the player enters, or returns to, a four-year college on a full-time basis. A selected player who enters a junior college cannot be signed until the conclusion of the school's baseball season. A player who is drafted and does not sign with the club that selected him may be drafted again at a future year's draft, so long as the player is eligible for that year's draft. A player who is eligible to be selected and is passed over by every club becomes a free agent and may sign with any team, up until one week before the next draft, or until the player enters, or returns to, a four-year college full-time or enters, or returns to, a junior college.

Current Gators Chosen in 2006 Major League Baseball Draft

Player---------Round----Pick----Team
Adam Davis-----3rd-----101st---Cleveland Indians
Brian Jeroloman--6th---180th---Toronto Blue Jays
Gavin Dickey-----12th--351st---Seattle Mariners
Matt LaPorta-----14th--433rd---Boston Red Sox

UF


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