UF baseball players join pros

Florida's Daniel Pigott (8) reacts with teammate Justin Shafer after crossing home plate following his home run in the 10th inning against North Carolina State during an NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game in Gainesville on June 10, 2012. (The Associated Press)

Published: Monday, June 25, 2012 at 12:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 25, 2012 at 12:18 p.m.

Florida pitcher Greg Larson and outfielder Daniel Pigott recently signed professional contracts.

Larson, selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 20th round with the 631st selection in June's Major League Baseball Draft, has been assigned to the Lowell Spinners of the New York-Penn League, the organization's Class A short-season affiliate.

In a team-high 35 appearances as a senior, including two starts, Larson was 6-0 with a team-low 1.33 earned run average. The righty totaled 38 strikeouts and permitted 12 walks in 54.1 innings of work and limited opponents to a .204 batting average. Larson finished with122 career appearances, second all-time at Florida behind Connor Falkenbach (124, 2002-05).

Named to the 2012 SEC Baseball Community Service Team for the second-straight year, Larson was a member of Florida's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and participated with Goodwill Gators by visiting children at Shands Hospital and in area schools. He also assisted with the “Miracle on Main Street” events, helping to provide Christmas gifts to more than 300 families and has worked as a counselor at several baseball camps, working with youngsters aged 5-18. Florida's male nominee for the SEC's H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship, Larson is active in Athletes in Action and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

As a junior, Larson was selected in the 29th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with the 885th choice but elected to return to school. He ranked third on the Gators with 33 appearances last season and was 1-1 with a 2.09 ERA. The righty played a role in four of the team's school-record 11 shutouts, struck out 30 batters and permitted seven walks in 38.2 innings. Larson compiled a 0.66 ERA and was 1-0 in 11 SEC appearances totaling 13.2 innings. He and Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) tied the school's postseason record for appearances in a series with four at the 2011 NCAA College World Series.

Over his four-year tenure, Larson compiled a record of 13-4 (.765) and registered a 2.91 ERA in 122 appearances and five starts. He registered 115 strikeouts and allowed 41 walks in 160.2 innings. Larson's 17 appearances in the NCAA Tournament are the most by a Gator pitcher.

Pigott, taken in the ninth round with the 292nd overall pick by the Cincinnati Reds, batted .318 with career highs in runs (49), RBI (41), walks (23) and homers (8) this season. He will be playing for Billings (Mont.) Mustangs in the Pioneer League.

UF's starting center fielder was third on the team in batting average and was 12-of-17 on stolen bases. He collected 13 doubles, totaled six sacrifice flies and six sacrifice hits and was second on the squad with 81 hits. In SEC play, Pigott hit .309 with 22 runs, 19 RBI and six round-trippers.

Pigott enjoyed a tremendous junior season, ranking second on the club in both batting average (.331) and doubles (21). He also scored 44 runs, totaled 40 RBI and was a team-best 15-for-19 on the basepaths. Pigott totaled 23 multiple-hit games and 10 multiple-RBI outings, batted .389 (21-for-54) with 16 runs and 10 RBI in Florida's 16 postseason games and was 14-for-42 (.333) in 11 NCAA contests.

Pigott delivered a .500 (5-for-10) performance in the Gainesville Super Regional, highlighted by a pair of homers in the decisive game three against Mississippi State. He went a perfect 3-for-3 in the finale, with a two-run homer in the second and a solo shot in the eighth. In addition, he was chosen to the Gainesville Regional All-Tourney Team with a .357 (5-for-14) average, four RBI and three runs. Pigott was tabbed the Most Valuable Player of the 2011 SEC Tourney after going 7-for-12 (.583) in four games with six runs and six stolen bases in six attempts in helping the Gators to their first crown in 20 years.

In 243 games played during his Gator career, fourth on the school's all-time list, Pigott hit .310 with 146 runs, 124 RBI, 58 walks, 50 doubles, 35 stolen bases (in 51 attempts), 17 homers and five triples. He added 26 sacrifice hits and 14 sacrifice flies and recorded a fielding percentage of .975.

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