Florida with focus

College : : Story
Kendall Rogers        
Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012

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1. Florida
6. Texas A&M
11. Arizona
16. Stetson
2. Stanford
7. Arkansas
12. Vanderbilt
17. Oregon State
3. South Carolina
8. Georgia Tech
13. Florida State
18. TCU
4. Rice
9. Texas
14. Arizona State
19. UCLA
5. North Carolina
10. LSU
15. Miami (Fla.)
20. Cal State Fullerton

NOTE: Check out FULL team breakdowns below

1. Florida
2011 record: 53-19 overall, 22-8 SEC
Key returnees
: C Mike Zunino (.371/19/67), OF Preston Tucker (.308/15/74), OF Daniel Pigott (.331/5/40), UTI Brian Johnson (.307/5/29; 8-3, 3.62), SS Nolan Fontana (.289/5/49), UTI Austin Maddox (.280/6/35), RHP Hudson Randall (11-3, 2.17), RHP Karsten Whitson (8-1, 3.40), RHP Greg Larson (1-1, 2.09), LHP Steven Rodriguez (4-2, 1.91)
The skinny: The Gators took a significant step forward last season when they reached the CWS Finals against South Carolina. Unfortunately, UF fell short of a national title, but that sets the tone for more motivation this spring. UF returns the bulk of its offensive production last season with All-American catcher Mike Zunino and hard-hitting outfielder Preston Tucker leading the charge. Meanwhile, keep an eye on third baseman Zack Powers, who could be a surprise this spring. Look for the Gators to be very productive at the plate … Pitching-wise, it doesn’t get better than Florida when it comes to the starting rotation. The Gators have an excellent trio of arms in Randall, Whitson and Johnson. Meanwhile, Greg Larson and Steve Rodriguez anchor another solid bullpen. If you’re looking for a true freshman arm to watch for, remember the name Johnny Magliozzi.
Expectation level:
Expectations simply don’t get any higher than they are for the Gators this spring. Florida almost won a national title last season, and it fully expects to do so this spring. UF has a very solid offensive lineup, but its abundance of talented and experienced arms is what makes the difference.

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