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UF Baseball: Trio of Gators Land on USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List

Tommy Mace started hot in 2020 and is expected to take the mound in Florida’s opening game Friday.
Photo By: Tim Casey

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY ZACH DIRIAM

Freshman left-handed pitcher Hunter Barco, sophomore outfielder Jud Fabian, and junior right-handed pitcher Tommy Mace were all named to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List, USA Baseball announced Thursday afternoon.

The Gators are the only program with three players represented on the watch list.

Florida’s last preseason watch list member was Jackson Kowar (2018), and its last season with multiple preseason watch list members was 2017 (Dalton Guthrie and JJ Schwarz). This is the second time in school history three Gators are on the award’s preseason watch list, with the other trio being Nolan Fontana, Hudson Randall, and Karsten Whitson in 2012.

At the end of the 2012 campaign, Mike Zunino became the program’s first and only winner of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award.

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Fabian was previously voted a Preseason All-SEC First Team, D1Baseball Preseason All-America First Team, and Baseball America Preseason All-America First Team selection. The Ocala, Fla., native was one of two unanimous first-team honorees on the Baseball America teams, which were chosen by members of Major League Baseball scouting departments. Fabian led the Gators with five home runs in 17 games last season, and he was one of four starters with an on-base percentage above .400.

Mace garnered preseason All-America honors from D1Baseball and Baseball America, in addition to landing a spot on the Preseason All-SEC Second Team. The Tampa, Fla., native went 3-0 with a 1.67 earned run average in his four starts last season.

Barco was ranked No. 7 on Baseball America’s Top 150 College Players. The Jacksonville, Fla., product led the Gators’ starters with a 1.40 ERA across four starts and 19.1 innings last year. Barco’s 26 strikeouts were also tied with Mace for the team lead.

Florida, the unanimous preseason No. 1 team, opens its 2021 campaign with the inaugural game at Florida Ballpark at Alfred A. McKethan Field Friday against No. 21 Miami. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m., with SEC Network providing live television coverage.

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