UF baseball trio earn All-American nods

Florida starting pitcher Brian Johnson, left, and catcher Mike Zunino, right, join closer Austin Maddox (not pictured) as NCBWA All-Americans.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 5:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 5:56 p.m.

OMAHA, Neb. — Florida junior left-hander/designated hitter Brian Johnson, junior right-hander Austin Maddox and junior catcher Mike Zunino were named All-Americans on Wednesday by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Johnson and Zunino were first-team recipients, while Maddox earned a spot on the third team. It marks the first time in school history that three Gators have been recognized by the NCBWA in the same season.

A first-team choice in the utility spot, Johnson was previously named as a second-team All-American by Louisville Slugger and is a contender for the 2012 John Olerud Award presented to the nation's top two-way standout.

Chosen first-team All-SEC for the past two seasons, he is 8-4 with a 3.56 earned run average on the mound and has 68 strikeouts in 86 innings, to go along with a .314 batting average, 41 RBIs, 24 runs, 13 doubles and six homers. The lefty tossed his first career complete game to oust fourth-ranked South Carolina from the SEC Tournament on May 25 and matched his career high with four hits in the semifinal round the following day against Vanderbilt.

In his most recent outing, Johnson limited the high-powered Georgia Tech offense to one run on three hits over five innings on June 3 as the Gators cruised to a 15-3 victory over the Jackets to punch their fourth-straight ticket to the super regional round. Johnson batted .429 (3-for-7) in the sweep of No. 11 NC State last weekend and tied the second game with the Wolfpack with a solo homer in the eighth inning of Florida's eventual 9-8 triumph in 10 innings.

Named the first-team catcher on the NCBWA's All-American squad, Zunino continues to reel in the accolades, as the first-team Louisville Slugger All-American is also a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, the Golden Spikes Award and the Johnny Bench Award. He leads the Gators in total bases (162), RBIs (64), doubles (28), homers (19), sacrifice flies (10) and slugging percentage (.678) and is 9-for-10 in steal attempts. A two-time first-team All-SEC recipient and two-time member of the league's All-Defensive Team who is hitting .322 overall, Zunino has registered a .994 fielding percentage, with three errors in 493 chances, and has thrown out almost a third of the runners who have attempted to steal on him.

Zunino was voted to the NCAA Gainesville Regional All-Tournament Team for the third-consecutive season after hitting home runs in consecutive games against No. 24 Georgia Tech and he led the Gators with a .500 (4-for-8) average in the pair of victories over N.C. State that punched Florida's return ticket to Omaha. The first-round pick of the Seattle Mariners is 6-for-19 (.316) during the NCAA Tourney with team highs in RBIs (9) and homers (3) as the Gators boast a 5-0 record.

Maddox achieved All-America status for the second time in his career after being voted onto to the third team as a freshman in 2010. The Gators' closer has collected 12 saves, one shy of matching the school's single-season record, and is 3-3 with a 2.50 ERA. In 31 appearances covering 54 innings, the right-hander has registered 57 strikeouts and issued 11 walks, while limiting opponents to a .210 batting average.

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