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Seven Gator Baseball Players Chosen To Preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List

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University of Florida junior Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.), junior Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.), junior Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.), junior Hudson Randall (Atlanta, Ga.), junior Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.), sophomore Karsten Whitson (Chipley, Fla.) and junior Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) were each named to the Preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List that was announced by USA Baseball on Thursday, marking the organization's first step toward identifying the top amateur player in the country. Sponsored by Major League Baseball, the Golden Spikes Award will be presented in 2012 for the 35th time.


The Watch List features 50 of the nation’s top amateur players, and it will be a “rolling” list to ensure that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award. The Golden Spikes Award trophy will be awarded live at MLB Network’s studios for the second year in a row, with a presentation scheduled for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week, July 9-13 (specific date to be announced). Through USA Baseball’s partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), the presentation will also be simulcast with a live stream available from GoldenSpikesAward.com, MLB.com and USABaseball.com.


Headlining the 2012 Watch List are six athletes who finished among the 30 semifinalists for the 2011 Golden Spikes Award. The players include Daniel Aldrich (OF, RS Sophomore, College of Charleston), D.J. Baxendale (RHP, Junior, Arkansas), Adam Brett Walker (OF/C, Junior, Jacksonville), Victor Roache (OF, Junior, Georgia Southern), Michael Roth (LHP/IF, Senior, South Carolina), and Zunino.


“With only six semifinalists from 2011 on our Preseason Watch List, 2012 promises to feature a wide-open competition for the Golden Spikes Award,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO. “The world of amateur baseball continues to provide us with an increasingly deep pool of talent, and we look forward to watching this year’s race for the award play out.” 


Florida leads all schools with seven players named to the Watch List, while Arizona State, South Carolina, Stanford, and Texas A&M all have three athletes named. For the third year in a row, the Southeastern Conference tops all conferences with 13 players. The Pac-12 Conference has nine players on the list, while the Atlantic Coast Conference has the third-most with seven. Juniors make up the majority of the list with 31 players named, down from 38 in 2011. Sophomores and seniors are represented by 10 and nine players, respectively. 


Following the release of a second, 60-player Watch List on Tuesday, May 1, USA Baseball officials will announce the 30 semifinalists for the 2012 Golden Spikes Award on Tuesday, May 29. The list of 30 will then be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of media that closely follow the amateur game, select professional baseball personnel and current USA Baseball staff, representing a group of more than 200 voters in total.  


Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2012. Tuesday, May 29, marks the day when amateur baseball fans from across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalist on GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of 30 names. On Tuesday, June 5, USA Baseball will announce the three finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day. 


Beginning with Florida State's Buster Posey in New York in 2008, USA Baseball partnered with MLBAM to create GoldenSpikesAward.com, and until 2011, streamed its annual presentations online live from MLB All-Star FanFest. Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State won the award in 2009 in St. Louis, and Bryce Harper of Southern Nevada took home the trophy from Anaheim in 2010. UCLA’s Trevor Bauer was the 2011 winner, accepting the trophy as part of a live presentation on “MLB Tonight” in MLB Network’s Studio 42.


Other past winners of the Golden Spikes Award include: Terry Francona (1980), Will Clark (1985), Robin Ventura (1988), Jason Varitek (1994), Rickie Weeks (2003), Jered Weaver (2004), Tim Lincecum (2006) and David Price (2007).


Important 2012 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award dates include:

  • Thursday, Feb. 16 -- 50-man preseason Watch List released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
  • Tuesday, May 1 -- 60-man midseason Watch List released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
  • Tuesday, May 29 -- 30 semifinalists announced, selected by USA Baseball officials; semifinalist voting begins; voters select three
  • Friday, June 1 -- Deadline to vote for finalists, 5 p.m. ET
  • Tuesday, June 5 -- Three finalists announced; finalist voting begins; voters to select one
  • Friday, June 15 -- Deadline to vote for winner, 5 p.m. ET
  • MLB All-Star Week (July 9-13), Date TBA -- Live Golden Spikes Award presentation from MLB Network studios
The complete 2012 Preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List is as follows:


Name, Position, Class, School, Conference

Daniel Aldrich, OF, RS Sophomore, College of Charleston, SoCon

Mark Appel, RHP, Junior, Stanford, Pac-12

Jeremy Baltz, OF, Junior, St. John's, Big East

D.J. Baxendale, RHP, Junior, Arkansas, SEC

Chris Beck, RHP, Junior, Georgia Southern, SoCon

Adam Brett Walker, OF/C, Junior, Jacksonville, Atlantic Sun

Tony Bryant, RHP, Junior, Oregon State, Pac-12

Jason Coats, OF, Senior, Texas Christian, Mountain West

Bo Cuthbertson, IF, Senior, Southern Utah, Summit

Joey DeMichele, IF, Junior, Arizona State, Pac-12

Josh Dezse, RHP/IF, Sophomore, Ohio State, Big Ten

Kenny Diekroeger, IF, Junior, Stanford, Pac-12

Taylor Dugas, OF, Senior, Alabama, SEC

Josh Elander, C/OF, Junior, Texas Christian, Mountain West

Kent Emanuel, LHP, Sophomore, North Carolina, ACC

Dylan Floro, RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton, Big West

Nolan Fontana, IF, Junior, FLORIDA, SEC

Kevin Gausman, RHP, Sophomore, Lousiana State, SEC

Kurt Heyer, RHP, Junior, Arizona, Pac-12

Travis Jankowski, OF, Junior, Stony Brook, America East

Brian Johnson, LHP/1B, Junior, FLORIDA, SEC

Branden Kline, RHP, Junior, Virginia, ACC

Corey Knebel, RHP, Sophomore, Texas, Big 12

Austin Kubitza, RHP, Sophomore, Rice, C-USA

Michael Lorenzen, OF, Sophomore, Cal State Fullerton, Big West

Austin Maddox, RHP/IF, Junior, Florida, SEC

Deven Marrero, IF, Junior, Arizona State, Pac-12

Hoby Milner, LHP, Junior, Texas, Big 12

Colin Moran, IF, Sophomore, North Carolina, ACC

Tom Murphy, C, Junior, Buffalo, Mid-American

Tyler Naquin, OF, Junior, Texas A&M, Big 12

Peter O'Brien, C, Senior, Miami (Fla.), ACC

Stephen Piscotty, IF, Junior, Stanford, Pac-12

Matt Price, RHP, RS Junior, South Carolina, SEC

James Ramsey, OF, Senior, Florida State, ACC

Hudson Randall, RHP, Junior, FLORIDA, SEC

Tyler Ray, RHP, Senior, Troy, Sun Belt

Tony Renda, IF, Junior, California, Pac-12

Victor Roache, OF, Junior, Georgia Southern, SoCon

Brady Rodgers, RHP, Junior, Arizona State, Pac-12

Michael Roth, LHP/IF, Senior, South Carolina, SEC

Richie Shaffer, IF, Junior, Clemson, ACC

Ross Stripling, RHP, Senior, Texas A&M, Big 12

Marcus Stroman, RHP, Junior, Duke, ACC

Preston Tucker, IF/OF, Senior, FLORIDA, SEC

Michael Wacha, RHP, Junior, Texas A&M, Big 12

Christian Walker, IF, Junior, South Carolina, SEC

Karsten Whitson, RHP, Sophomore, FLORIDA, SEC

Brad Zebedis, C/IF, Sophomore, Presbyterian, Big South

Mike Zunino, C, Junior, FLORIDA, SEC


The No. 1 Gators begin their season on Friday at 7 p.m. by hosting No. 16 Cal State Fullerton in the opener of a three-game series at McKethan Stadium. Single-game tickets for the 2012 Gator Baseball season are now on sale. Both single-game and season tickets can be purchased online at www.GatorZone.com/tickets or by calling the Gator Ticket Office at 1-800-34-GATOR from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.


Single-Game Ticket Prices are as follows:

$10 – Reserved Box

$8 – Reserved Chairback

$6 – Reserved Bleacher

$4 – General Admission


For all of the latest information on Florida baseball, log on to http://www.gatorzone.com/baseball/ or follow the team’s Twitter account @GatorZoneBB at www.twitter.com/GatorZoneBB.

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