University of Florida

This Florida Gators baseball player is on track to be the best hitter in UF history

If the season ended today, the batting average of Jonathan India (6) would be the highest in Florida team history. That surge helped the Gators reclaim the nation’s No. 1 ranking following a weekend sweep of Vanderbilt.
If the season ended today, the batting average of Jonathan India (6) would be the highest in Florida team history. That surge helped the Gators reclaim the nation’s No. 1 ranking following a weekend sweep of Vanderbilt. AP

Jonathan India is the man to start with.

Florida’s junior third baseman is leading the Southeastern Conference in hitting with a .433 average — that beats the next closest hitter by .033 — and he’s tied for the team lead in home runs (11).

If he keeps up his current pace, he’d beat UF’s all-time batting average record, which was set in 1965 by Allen Trammell’s .425. If he stays anywhere close to the pace but dips a little, he could still be the ninth Florida player ever to hit over .400 and the first since Matt LaPorta in 2007.

India is also carrying a 15-game hitting streak into No. 1 Florida’s game against Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday. The midweek matchup is a relief for the Gators, who have played seven consecutive games against Top 10 teams. They’ve won the last six.

That includes two wins over then-No. 4 Arkansas, one over then-No. 7 Florida State and a three-game sweep of then-No. 8 Vanderbilt this weekend.

India is a big reason why. He went 6 for 13 against Vandy and FSU with two homers, 4 RBI and five runs. Outfielder Wil Dalton has also been a constant threat in Florida’s lineup.

The junior college transfer is second on the team to India with a .311 batting average and also has a team-leading 11 home runs. But it hasn’t just been Florida’s offense leading the way.

UF’s weekend starters — Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and Tyler Dyson — all had strong weekends as well. Singer led the way with seven innings of one-run baseball on Friday. Closer Michael Byrne finished things off for him with 1.2 scoreless innings for his seventh save of the season.

Kowar didn’t last quite as long — 6.1 innings — but he didn’t allow any earned runs. And Dyson was arguably the worst of the trio, with 4.1 innings and two earned runs Sunday.

Regardless of Dyson’s slipup, each member of the trio still boasts an ERA under 3.00. Dyson leads the way at 2.33, with Kowar (2.68) and Singer (2.74) not far behind.

The three of them will be back in action this Friday for a three-game series in Knoxville, Tennessee.

SOFTBALL

Kelly Barnhill grabs all the headlines for Florida’s softball team, but this past week, a different pitcher was the hero, and not for the Gators.

FIU sophomore Shannon Saile dominated No. 4 UF on Wednesday over seven shutout innings. The Golden Panthers took the 5-0 win a day after the Gators blanked them 9-0.

Sophomore Katie Chronister took the loss after managing just one inning during which she allowed four earned runs. Freshman Natalie Lugo finished the remaining six with only one run allowed, but it didn’t matter.

Saile was too good. She allowed just three hits and struck out nine.

That was the only hiccup this week for Florida, though, which took a pair of games against Jacksonville and Hampton easily. The combined score from UF’s six games last week favored the Gators 40-6.

Junior Amanda Lorenz continues to lead the team in hitting at .419 while Barnhill leads in ERA with 0.74. Senior Aleshia Ocasio isn’t far behind at 0.80.

GYMNASTICS

After a week off following a third-place finish in the SEC Championships, the Gators are back on the mat this Saturday in University Park, Pennsylvania, for the NCAA Regional Championships.

UF will compete against six teams in its bracket, with the top two moving on to the 12-team championships on April 20. Of those 12, the top six will advance to the Super Six the next day.

Florida is the No. 5 seed in the tournament, and its bracket features No. 8 Washington, No. 17 Arizona State, West Virginia, Penn State and New Hampshire.

Florida hasn’t missed the Super Six since 2011 and the 12-team championship since 2000.

MEN’S TENNIS

The past week was a roller coaster of emotions for Florida’s No. 10 men’s tennis team.

It started with a 4-3 win at No. 1 Wake Forest on Friday, which was arguably the high point of the team’s season. The Gators had won five matches in a row at that point.

Then they traveled to Columbia, South Carolina, on Sunday and lost to the Gamecocks, 4-3.

Coral Gables High alum Alfredo Perez has played on Florida’s No. 1 court for most of the season, but he was moved to No. 2 against the Gamecocks following his loss at Wake Forest. He lost again, as did the team’s new No. 1, Johannes Ingildsen.

Perez, who is originally from Havana, Cuba, and is rated as the nation’s No. 8 collegiate player, hasn’t won a set since March 23 against Ole Miss.

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