Fontana inks deal with Astros

Florida shortstop Nolan Fontana stretches out to field a ball before throwing to first base for an out during a game against Arkansas at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, April, 29, 2012.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 5:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 5:09 p.m.

Shortstop Nolan Fontana, a member of the 2012 Florida baseball team, signed with the Houston Astros on Tuesday and will forgo his final year of eligibility. He had been taken with the first pick of the second round at No. 61 overall by the Astros.

A second-team All-SEC choice in 2012, Fontana was the first Gator shortstop to earn all-league three seasons in a row and joined outfielder Matt den Dekker (2008-09-10) as the only UF players to be named to the SEC All-Defensive Team three times. He had a .284 batting average in 66 games, led the Gators in runs (59), walks (48) and stolen bases (13-for-14), and had 30 RBIs, 10 doubles and a career-high nine homers.

On the watch list for the Brooks Wallace Award presented to the nation's top shortstop, Fontana sported a .974 fielding percentage and committed just one error in league play. He was named to the NCAA Gainesville Regional All-Tournament Team for the third-straight time after hitting .364 (4-for-11) with four runs, two RBIs, two walks and two steals in Florida's three victories.

During his sophomore campaign, Fontana was a second-team All-SEC pick, had a .289 average and led the SEC in walks (52) and sacrifice flies (nine). He paced the squad in sacrifices (20) and triples (five), rated second with 57 runs and was third with a career-high 49 RBIs.

As a freshman in 2010, Fontana became the first player in school history to be named to the Division I Rawlings Gold Glove Team and earned Freshman All-America recognition from Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. He collected second-team All-SEC honors and was named to the league's Defensive Team and All-Freshman squad. In his rookie year, Fontana started 63 games at shortstop and was fourth on the squad with a .287 average with 56 runs, a team-high 53 walks, 23 RBIs, 15 doubles and 11 stolen bases. He committed just four errors in 279 chances for a .986 fielding percentage.

Over his 200-game career at Florida, all starts, Fontana sported a .287 average with 172 runs, 153 walks (third in school history), 102 RBIs, 37 doubles, 17 homers and eight triples and he was 30-for-40 on the basepaths. In addition, he tied the school record for sacrifice hits (27, with Josh Adams) and is tied for third with 14 sacrifice flies.

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