June 20, 2011; Omaha, NE, USA; Florida Gators right fielder Preston Tucker (25) celebrates after hitting a three-run home run during the third inning against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the 2011 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Baseball Preview: Florida Gators Vs. Bethune-Cookman Wildcats - Feb. 21, 2012


The No. 1 Florida Gators are back in action again Tuesday night as they host the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. The 2-1 Gators opened the season taking two out of three over the No. 25 Cal State Fullerton Titans. The 2-1 Wildcats come to Gainesville after winning two in their season-opening series against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.

The Facts

Opponent: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats
When: Tuesday, Feb. 21 – 7:00 PM
Where: Gainesville, FL
Broadcast: GatorVision
Records: Florida: 2-1, Bethune-Cookman: 2-1
Rankings: Florida: 1, Bethune-Cookman: NR
Current Streak: Florida: L1, Bethune-Cookman: N/A
Runs Scored: Florida: 5.7, Bethune-Cookman: 4.7
Runs Allowed: Florida: 4.3, Bethune-Cookman: 4.7

The Preview

After the first three games of the 2012 season, the stars for the Gators are pretty much right in line with who you would have thought they would be. Senior outfielder Preston Tucker leads the way batting .545 with two homeruns and four RBI. His 1.182 slugging percentage is more than double anyone else on the roster with at least nine at-bats. Tucker also leads the Gators with three runs scored. That’s exactly the type of tear we wanted to see out of the senior to start the season. It will be a pace that’s virtually impossible to maintain, but expect Tucker to be the focal point of the offense for the entire season.

Junior catcher Mike Zunino has also started in the zone. He’s batting .417 with two RBI. Unfortunately for Zunino all five of his hits have been singles, but the power will come and he’ll start to pile up the extra bases as the season progresses.

The Gators have also seen some power from freshman Taylor Gushue. The SEC Freshman of the Week, Gushue appeared in two games during the opening series and homered in his first collegiate at-bat on the first pitch he saw. Gushue is batting .286 with three RBI and a 1.000 slugging percentage.

Florida will start freshman right-handed pitcher Johnny Magliozzi against Bethune-Cookman. Magliozzi has allowed two hits and zero runs in one inning of relief work so far this season.

The Gators and Wildcats last met on May 3, 2011. Florida won 11-0 behind two homeruns and seven RBI from Zunino. If Tucker is the star this time around, he could reach two milestones. The senior is only two RBI behind former Gators’ star Brad Wilkerson for the school’s career record (214-212) and he needs only three hits to tie Wilkerson for fifth on the all-time list with 266.

Baseball previews are sponsored by Seattle Mariners’ minor league pitcher Ben Versnik and Advocare – a world-class nurtrition company specializing in health and wellness, weight management, vibrant energy and sports performance.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats Brad Wilkerson College Baseball Florida Gators Johnny Magliozzi Mike Zunino Preston Tucker Taylor Gushue