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UF Baseball: Barco, Sproat Selected to 2021 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Roster

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY SULLIVAN BORTNER

Florida left-handed pitcher Hunter Barco and right-handed pitcher Brandon Sproat have both been selected to compete for the 2021 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team this upcoming July.

Unlike in years past, the USA CNT will not face an international opponent this summer. Instead, the 2021 team will feature 48 players on two 24-man rosters dubbed the “Stars” and “Stripes,” who will play 11 intrasquad games from July 2 to July 15.

10 of the team’s 11 games will be played in the cities of the Appalachian League, which is in its first season as a summer collegiate league as part of MLB and USA Baseball’s Prospect Development Pipeline. The CNT will also play a game at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. on July 4 at 1:30 p.m. ET. The game will be streamed on USABaseball.com and on USA Baseball’s Facebook and YouTube channels. For a complete schedule, visit USABaseball.com.

Coming off a 2021 SEC All-Newcomer Team accolade as a second-year player, Barco led the Gators in wins while posting a 10-3 record and 4.01 ERA on the mound. With all 16 of his appearances coming in the form of weekend starts, Barco registered 94 strikeouts across 83 innings pitched, translating to 10.2 strikeouts-per-nine-innings. Opposing hitters batted just .239 against the southpaw.

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Barco enjoyed his strongest stretch of the season from April 3 to May 26, during which he delivered a streak of nine consecutive starts without receiving a loss. During that span, the Jacksonville, Fla. native went 7-0 with signature victories over No. 3 Ole Miss, No. 2 Vanderbilt, and No. 8 Mississippi State.

In particular, Barco tossed four straight quality starts from May 2 to May 26, with all four outings coming against SEC opponents including two versus top-10 foes in No. 1 Arkansas and No. 8 Mississippi State. En route to earning the win against Mississippi State at the SEC Tournament on May 26, Barco fired a career-high seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits while striking out two.

As for Sproat, the right-hander accumulated 21.2 innings during his second season with the Gators in 2021 and finished with a 2-1 record across 16 appearances. Sproat experienced his best outing of the season while making his first career start at Stetson on May 11, firing four shutout innings on one hit and one walk while striking out two batters.

Previously selected out of high school in the seventh round of the 2019 MLB Draft, Sproat pitched to a 1.50 ERA with eight strikeouts over 6.0 innings pitched as a freshman in 2020. The Pace, Fla. native held opposing hitters to a .105 batting average in his debut season in Gainesville.

By making the 2021 roster, Barco and Sproat are set to become the 13th and 14th Gators to suit up for the USA CNT since head coach Kevin O’Sullivan took the reins at Florida in 2008 and the first since teammate Tommy Mace in 2019. A full list of Gators that have competed for the CNT can be found below.

Florida Players to Compete for USA CNT Since 2008
2021: LHP Hunter Barco, RHP Brandon Sproat
2019: RHP Tommy Mace
2016: RHP Alex Faedo, INF Dalton Guthrie, C Mike Rivera
2015: LHP A.J. Puk, OF Buddy Reed, C/DH JJ Schwarz, RHP Logan Shore
2012: RHP Jonathon Crawford
2011: INF Nolan Fontana, LHP Brian Johnson
2010: INF Nolan Fontana, LHP Brian Johnson
2008: OF Matt den Dekker

Complete 2021 USA Collegiate National Team Schedule
(Date; Match-Up; Location; Time [E.T.])
Friday, July 2; Stars vs. Stripes; Danville, Virginia; 7 p.m.
Saturday, July 3; Stars vs. Stripes; Burlington, North Carolina; TBD
Sunday, July 4; Stars vs. Stripes; Cary, North Carolina; 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 6; Stars vs. Stripes; Greeneville, Tennessee; 7 p.m.
Wednesday, July 7; Stars vs. Stripes; Johnson City, Tennessee; 7 p.m.
Thursday, July 8; Stars vs. Stripes; Bristol, Virginia; 7 p.m.
Friday, July 9; Stars vs. Stripes; Elizabethton, Virginia; 7 p.m.
Saturday, July 10; Stars vs. Stripes; Kingsport, Tennessee; TBD
Tuesday, July 13; Stars vs. Stripes; Pulaski, Virginia; 7 p.m.
Wednesday, July 14; Stars vs. Stripes; Princeton, West Virginia; 7 p.m.
Thursday, July 15; Stars vs. Stripes; Bluefield, West Virginia; 6:30 p.m.

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