Gator Baseball Players Honored

Florida Gator first baseman Preston Tucker has been named SEC Co-Freshman of the Year. The honor was chosen by the 12 SEC baseball coaches.

The SEC also announced that four other Gators had earned recognition. Sophomore second baseman Josh Adams and senior outfielder Avery Barnes were chosen first-team All-SEC, junior relief pitcher Billy Bullock earned second-team recognition and junior center fielder Matt den Dekker was tabbed for the All-Defensive Team.

Tucker had a tremendous rookie season for the Gators batting .338 with 11 HR and 71 RBI. He had 40 RBI in SEC play, tops in the conference. The 71 RBI is a Florida freshman record and he's just nine away from tying the overall school record held by Ryan Shealy.

Adams became the first Gator to earn first-team All-SEC accolades in consecutive seasons since Brad Wilkerson accomplished the feat in 1998. He hit .341 on the year with seven doubles and 46 RBI. Adams also drew 34 walks, giving him an impressive .439 on base percentage.

Barnes led the Gators with a .360 average with eight homers and six triples. Barnes also stole 13 bases. Bullock stabilized the Gators bullpen, posting 11 saves on the season with seven of them coming in SEC play. He is two shy of tying the school single season saves record. Den Dekker was named to the defensive squad for the second year in a row after committing just one error all season and picking up five outfield assists. Pro scouts rank him as one of the best defensive centerfielders in the country.

The Gators open play in the SEC Tournament Wednesday at 11:00 against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

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The Gators appear to be almost certain to host an NCAA Regional next weekend. Florida takes an RPI of six into the SEC Tournament. Sixteen teams will be chosen as hosts for the Regional round and the top eight will be granted Super Regional host opportunities should they advance. Other teams of note in contention to be hosts include LSU (#10), Arkansas (#13), Ole Miss (#14), Miami (#9) and FSU (#17).


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