Junior outfielder Jake Mangum celebrates after scoring a run in an eight-run third inning in the Mississippi State baseball team’s 13-3 victory against Ole Miss on Saturday, April 7, at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville. Photo by: Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch
May 22, 2018 10:34:40 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- After winning the Southeastern Conference regular-season title, six Florida baseball players and coach Kevin O'Sullivan earned recognition from the conference for their performances.
Junior third baseman Jonathan India was named the SEC Player of the Year and classmate Brady Singer was named the Pitcher of the Year. O'Sullivan was named the SEC Coach of the Year. It is the third time he has earned the award (2010, 2014).
In All-SEC awards, Mississippi State junior outfielder Jake Mangum received first-team honors and was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team, while Tanner Allen was named to the Freshman All-SEC Team at first base.
Ole Miss placed five players on the all-league team. Ryan Olenek led the way with a first-team All-SEC nod, followed by Nick Fortes and Parker Caracci (second-team All-SEC), Anthony Servideo (Freshman All-SEC Team), and Cole Zabowski (SEC All-Defensive Team).
Florida is the second school in SEC history to have the Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, and Coach of the Year in the same season. In 2008, Georgia's Gordon Beckham (player), Joshua Fields (pitcher), and David Perno (coach) were honored.
In addition to India and Singer, senior catcher JJ Schwarz and junior closer Michael Byrne were selected first-team All-SEC. India was also named to the SEC All-Defensive Team.
Sophomore outfielder Wil Dalton and junior right-hander Jackson Kowar were named second-team All-SEC.
Singer is the third Florida player to be named SEC Pitcher of the Year, joining Justin Hoyman (2004) and Logan Shore (2016). India is the third player to win SEC Player of the year (Matt LaPorta, 2005 and 2007; Mike Zunino, 2011).
Arkansas' Heston Kjerstad was named SEC Freshman of the Year, and Georgia's Keegan McGovern and Tennessee's Nico Mascia were honored as co-Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
India leads the SEC in several offensive categories, including slugging percentage (.730), on-base percentage (.506), and walks (45). He is third in home runs (16), total bases (130), and batting average (.365). He had a 24-game hitting streak earlier this season, the longest in the SEC and the third longest in Florida history.
Singer leads the SEC with 10 wins and a 2.25 earned run average. Opponents are hitting .186 against him.
Kjerstad leads all SEC freshmen in batting average (.348), runs scored (49) hits (72), and total bases (119). He ranks second with 46 RBIs, and his .348 average is sixth best among all SEC players.
O'Sullivan, in his 11th season as Florida's coach, led the Gators to the SEC regular-season championship and 41 wins. Florida was ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in each week of the regular season.
McGovern holds a 3.48 grade-point average in biology. He has been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in every semester and is a member of UGA's Student-Athlete Leadership Academy, chosen based on academic, athletic success, leadership, and campus and community involvement. McGovern leads the Bulldogs in batting (.330), runs (62), and home runs (15).
Mascia holds a 3.99 GPA in biomolecular engineering. He has been a member of the Dean's List in all five semesters and shadowed interventional heart surgeon Dr. Venero at UT Medical Center and oversaw approximately 100 hours of operating. Mascia has a .278 batting average with 14 extra-base hits and 26 runs scored.
Allen, the SEC Freshman of the Week, is the only Bulldog to start all 55 games. Thirty of those starts have come at first base. He posted a 1.077 slugging percentage and a .571 on-base percentage last weekend in a three-game sweep of then-No. 1 Florida.
Allen is hitting .301 with 14 doubles, a league-leading five triples, three home runs, and 35 RBIs. He is the ninth Bulldog to receive All-SEC Freshman recognition, and the first since Mangum in 2016. Allen is also the first Freshman All-SEC infielder for State since Connor Powers in 2007.
Mangum raised his total of All-SEC awards to seven in his three-year career. It is the second time Mangum has been named first-team All-SEC (2016) and his third-career All-SEC honor (second team in 2017).
Mangum ended the regular season leading the SEC in hits (82), second in doubles (20), and fifth in batting average (.350).
The Pearl native has also now been named to the SEC All-Defensive Team for the second-consecutive year. Mangum is the first Diamond Dawg since Tommy Raffo (1988-90) to receive All-SEC honors in three-straight seasons. He is the first Diamond Dawg to be named to the SEC All-Defensive Team twice.
Olenek, a junior outfielder out of Winter Park, Florida, led the SEC in overall batting average (.373) and in conference play (.404). Olenek has struck out just 13 times, making him the toughest player to strike out in the league. His season included a 23-game hitting streak that spanned nearly the entirety of SEC play.
Fortes, a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, hit .299 with 11 home runs, including six in SEC play, tying for the team lead. The junior catcher from Deland, Florida, threw out eight would-be base-stealers in SEC play and drove in 24 runs and hit six home runs in league games.
Caracci, a midseason All-American, led the SEC in ERA at 1.47 with five earned runs allowed in conference play. His nine saves in SEC games were a league high. The sophomore closer carried a .227 opponent batting average through conference play, the league's seventh-best mark. Caracci struck out 42 in 30 1/3 innings in SEC play, and fanned 61 in 40 1/3 innings on the season.
Servideo was one of the Rebels' top reserves, playing 15 league games and hitting .308 with three runs scored. The freshman out of Jupiter, Florida, made just two errors in the field, playing both second base and shortstop.
Zabowski, a first baseman, was charged with just four errors, two of which came in SEC play. The sophomore had amassed 189 putouts and 21 assists in conference play and 282 putouts on the season as part of a defense that is on pace to break the school record for fielding percentage, currently at .978.
Zabowski tied for the team lead with six home runs in SEC play, and his .333 batting average was the team's second-best in league games.
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