Ryan Young/SEC Country
From left, SEC Pitcher of the Year Brady Singer, Coach of the Year Kevin O'Sullivan and Player of the Year Jonathan India, as announced by the conference on Monday.

Florida baseball sweeps top SEC awards, still considered team to beat despite 4-game skid

Ryan Young

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Gators in Hoover preparing for SEC Tournament

The Florida baseball team is hoping this week will go far better than the last, as the Gators look to shake a season-long four-game losing streak and regain some momentum during the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.

The top-seeded Gators don’t play until Wednesday, when they’ll face either LSU or Mississippi State, which swept them over the weekend in Starkville, Miss., but this week is already off to a good start.

Florida (41-15) stayed No. 1 in the D1Baseball.com and Baseball America national polls, and it also swept the major end-of-season SEC awards.

Junior third baseman Jonathan India was selected the SEC Player of the Year, junior right-hander Brady Singer was named the SEC Pitcher of the Year and Kevin O’Sullivan was chosen the SEC Coach of the Year.

The Gators are just the second baseball program in conference history to win all three of those awards, joining Georgia’s 2008 team (with Player of the Year Gordon Beckham, Pitcher of the Year Joshua Fields and Coach of the Year David Perno).

India is just the third Florida player to earn the SEC Player of the Year honor, joining two-time winner Matt LaPorta (2005, 2007) and Mike Zunino (2011).

And it was well-deserved after India led the conference in slugging percentage (.730) and on-base percentage (.506) during the regular season, was third in batting average (.365), tied for third with 16 home runs and also provided 11 doubles, 3 triples, 40 RBI and 55 runs scored for the league’s top team.

Singer, meanwhile, is the third Florida starter to win SEC Pitcher of the Year, joining Justin Hoyman (2004) and Logan Shore (2016). He led the conference with 10 wins and a 2.25 ERA during the regular season, ranked second with a .186 opponents’ batting average and tallied 92 strikeouts with 18 walks over 88 innings.

Shore and Alex Faedo, Singer’s recent predecessors atop the Florida rotation, congratulated him Monday on Twitter.

India and Singer are also among the 25 semifinalists for the prestigious Golden Spikes Award, which honors the top player in college baseball.

As for O’Sullivan, this is his third SEC Coach of the Year honor, also receiving the award in 2010 and 2014.

Joining India and Singer on the All-SEC First Team were catcher JJ Schwarz and closer Michael Byrne, while outfielder Wil Dalton and starting pitcher Jackson Kowar made second team and India also made the all-defensive team.

SEC Country will be in Hoover all week for the tournament, so follow along for daily coverage.

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In Florida football news

  • USA Today’s Dan Wolken reported that Florida and Texas A&M are pitching a proposal to be voted on at the SEC spring meetings next week that could impact the eligibility matter of the Gators’ new wide receiver, Van Jefferson. Read more here.

Recruiting roundup

  • SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi expects Florida’s Great Gator Grill-Out recruiting event over the weekend to lead to some commitments in the near future.
  • Dannis Jackson, a 4-star wide receiver from Mississippi, told SEC Country he was impressed with his visit to Florida last weekend. Jackson is a top-100 overall recruit on the 247Sports composite. “I liked it down here. This was my first time coming down,” he said. “I mean, it’s Florida. Everybody likes Florida. They have nice facilities. They showed me the academic center where I’ll be studying. It was all really nice.” Read more here.
  • The Chomp Chat podcast discussed the recruiting event over the weekend in greater depth.

What they’re saying on Twitter

  • Now, this is impressive …

  • Florida tight end C’yontai Lewis is trying to sell 4-star tight end recruit Jahleel Billingsley on the Gators:

  • Florida running back Lamical Perine and Gators basketball star Jalen Hudson, who is still pondering his future, traded tweets Monday:

  • Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney is still not all right with the video of visiting recruits flashing the “The U” for Miami while in Gainesville:

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