By ANTONYA ENGLISH
Published February 10, 2006
2005 RECORD: 48-23, runnerup College World Series, 20-10 (first in East) in SEC.
COACH: Pat McMahon (174-85, fifth season; 527-259-1 overall).
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: INF/C Matt LaPorta, Jr. (.328, 87 hits, 26 HRs, 79 RBIs); INF/OF Stephen Barton, Sr. (.295, 56 hits, 26 RBIs); INF Adam Davis, Jr. (.306, 63 RBIs, 12 HRs, 24 SB); OF Brian LeClerc, Jr. (.277, 74 hits, 64 RBIs); OF Gavin Dickey, Jr. (.292, 64 hits, 9 doubles, 20 RBIs, 8 SB); RHP Bryan Ball, Sr. (7-6, .345 ERA, 72 Ks, 37 BB); RHP Darren O'Day, Sr. (8-3, 2.87 ERA, 63 Ks, 13 BB); LHP Stephen Locke, So. (5-2, 4.04 ERA); INF Brandon McArthur, So. (.268, 30 RBIs).
KEY NEWCOMERS: C Cody Neer, Fr.; C Austin Pride, Jr.; INF David Cash, Jr.; INF/OF Avery Barnes, Fr.; INF Clayton Pisani, Fr.
NOTABLE: Florida is coming off its best season and returns 23 letterwinners and seven position starters. The Gators open today with reserve tickets sold out. SEC player of the year LaPorta will anchor first base. All-SEC catcher and defensive specialist Brian Jeroloman threw out nearly 48 percent of runners attempting to steal last season. The projected infield has depth, even with the loss of Justin Tordi to the pros. Davis moves from second to shortstop, and McArthur moves from third to second. Pitching is the biggest question after losing Tommy Boss, Connor Falkenbach, Mike Pete and Alan Horne.