More Gators picked on 2nd day


Florida's Nolan Fontana fields a ball at shortstop during a game against Georgia Tech in the Gainesville Regionals in June.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 12:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 1:41 p.m.

The second day of Major League Baseball’s draft was historic for the Florida baseball program.

Six more Florida players were picked from the second to the ninth round Tuesday. Overall, Florida had eight players taken in the first nine rounds of the draft, the most in school history.

From the start, the second day was big for the Gators. Shortstop Nolan Fontana was taken as the first pick of the second round (61st overall) by the Houston Astros. Along with stellar defense throughout his three-year UF career, Fontana is batting .294 with nine home runs and 30 RBIs this season.

Fontana was followed in the second round by UF lefty relief pitcher Steven Rodriguez (82nd overall, Los Angeles Dodgers). Florida closer/infielder/designated hitter Austin Maddox was selected in the third round (118th overall) by the Boston Red Sox.

Florida senior outfielder Preston Tucker was taken as the first pick in the seventh round (219th overall) by the Houston Astros. Later in the seventh round, the Detroit Tigers picked Florida junior right-handed pitcher Hudson Randall (244th overall). And outfielder Daniel Pigott went in the ninth round to the Cincinnati Reds with the 292nd overall selection.

Florida junior catcher Mike Zunino (third overall, Seattle Mariners) and pitcher/designated hitter Brian Johnson (31st overall, Boston) were taken in the first round Monday.

The Gators (45-18) open super regional play Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium against North Carolina State.

While it was a big day for the Gators, it also was big day for UF’s incoming 2012 class. Three more UF signees were taken in the top three rounds, including outfielder Max White (second round, Colorado Rockies, 73rd overall pick, Williston), right-handed pitcher Jonathan Sandfort (third round, Pittsburgh Pirates, 103rd overall pick, Winter Springs) and shortstop Avery Romero (third round, Miami Marlins, 104th overall pick, St. Augustine).

White said Tuesday he intends to sign with the Rockies. The other two signees will have until July 13 to decide whether to sign with their teams or play college baseball at UF.

Florida had three signees drafted in the first round Monday night, outfielder Lewis Brinson (29th overall, Texas Rangers), pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. (41st overall, Houston Astros) and outfielder Jesse Winkler (49th overall, Cincinnati Reds). McCullers and Winkler were first-round compensation picks for free-agent signings.

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