Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SLUMP IN NAME ONLY UF's Wilkerson Plays Well Even on Bad Days

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SLUMP IN NAME ONLY UF's Wilkerson Plays Well Even on Bad Days

Article excerpt

GAINESVILLE -- This is what happens when something so

illogical becomes so consuming.

Florida's Brad Wilkerson, one of college baseball's best

players, asked to bunt last weekend -- with the go-ahead run on

second base late in the game.

"It shocked me," Florida coach Andy Lopez said. "That's when I

knew something just wasn't right."

This is what The Slump has come to. And this is how ridiculous

it really is: Wilkerson, a Golden Spikes Player of the Year

candidate, leads the fourth-ranked Gators in home runs, RBI,

slugging percentage, runs and stolen bases, and in wins,

strikeouts and innings pitched.

But Saturday against Ole Miss, in the middle of an 0 for 12

drought, the guy Florida State coach Mike Martin called the most

dangerous player in college baseball asked to bunt with the game

on the line.

The bunt was executed, and the runners advanced to second and

third before catcher David Ross followed with a go-ahead two-run

double.

"Even Superman has a problem every now and then," Ross said of

Wilkerson. "But the thing is, his highs are a lot higher than

everybody's highs, and his lows are a lot higher, too."

Then again, just how low are his lows? Wilkerson is hitting

.356 and has 18 home runs, 54 RBI, 60 runs and a slugging

percentage of .838. He also has a 7-1 pitching record, with 72

strikeouts in 69.1 innings.

Those look more like Player of the Year numbers than someone

who's searching for answers.

"I put more pressure on myself than anyone," Wilkerson said. "I

know I've been in a big slump, and I expect more from myself. I

bunted then because I wasn't swinging well. We needed runs; we

didn't have a guy up there who was swinging the stick well."

After that game, Lopez tried to put things in perspective,

talking about the pressure of professional scouts lining up

every game to see the junior All-American. …

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