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Saturday, December 04, 2021

Notebook: Horvath a popular guy, India maintains hitting streak, Gators in MLB

<p>Third baseman Jonathan India went 2 for 5 with four RBIs in UF's 6-1 victory over Texas at the College World Series Tuesday. He gave the Gators a five-run lead with a three-run homer in the sixth inning. </p>

Third baseman Jonathan India went 2 for 5 with four RBIs in UF's 6-1 victory over Texas at the College World Series Tuesday. He gave the Gators a five-run lead with a three-run homer in the sixth inning. 

Horvath continuing breakout season

It was quite the night for center fielder Nick Horvath on Tuesday against Florida Gulf Coast. After robbing a home run from FGCU second baseman Eric Gonzalez in the top of the sixth inning, the Gators center fielder came back for an encore, smacking a three-run homer to left field in the bottom of the frame.

Once the game was over, his teammates took notice of the performance on Twitter.

“Best CF in the country,” catcher JJ Schwarz and third baseman Jonathan India both wrote.

“#isthatGood?,” closer Michael Byrne tweeted in response to a video of Horvath’s sixth-inning catch.

The senior outfielder’s contributions were not taken for granted by his Gators teammates.

And they shouldn’t be.

After struggling at the plate in 2016 and 2017, hitting a combined .173 over that span, Horvath has found his swing. He’s batting .286 with a career-high four home runs and 19 RBIs so far this season.

India’s draft stock on the rise

Through 31 games, Florida has maintained consistency throughout its entire team.

As a staff, UF’s pitchers have the 13th best ERA in the country (2.87) out of 297 Division I teams.

At the plate, Florida is hitting nearly .289 as a team and is fourth in NCAA with 47 home runs.

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But one player sticks out of the bunch: third baseman Jonathan India.

He’s eighth in the nation in hitting (.430) and currently rides a 16-game hitting streak heading into the weekend.

India is slowly creeping up on Tim Olson’s all-time UF hitting streak record (29 games in a row).

And he’s rising up MLB draft boards.

India is listed as a late-second- or early-third-round pick in multiple mock draft sites, including draftsite.com which has Boston selecting him 67th overall.

If India keeps playing the way he has been, his draft stock could shoot through the roof.

Former Gator Preston Tucker lighting up the MLB, and others

Like India, former Florida outfielder Preston Tucker is lighting up the stat sheet.

He is hitting .429 with two home runs for the Atlanta Braves through the first six games of the 2018 MLB season. And, on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals, Tucker hit one of those bombs off Cy Young winner Max Scherzer in the first inning, opening up the scoring and propelling the Atlanta Braves to a 7-1 victory.

Along with Tucker, several other former Gators found themselves on Opening Day rosters.

Former pitcher Darren O’Day is enjoying a nice start to the season, having yet to give up a hit in two innings of play for the Baltimore Orioles. Bobby Poyner, another former UF pitcher, made the Boston Red Sox roster coming out of spring training and has a 3.38 ERA in three games so far this year.

But several other Florida alumni are having to wait to see the field.

Both catcher Mike Zunino (Seattle Mariners) and pitcher Anthony DeSclafani (Cincinnati Reds) are on the disabled list, with Zunino expected to return on Tuesday and DeSclafani hoping to return in May or June.

Follow Justin Ahlum on Twitter @justinn_case1 and contact him at jahlum@alligator.org.

Third baseman Jonathan India went 2 for 5 with four RBIs in UF's 6-1 victory over Texas at the College World Series Tuesday. He gave the Gators a five-run lead with a three-run homer in the sixth inning. 

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