For the second year in a row the Florida Gators baseball team will have four players representing the University of Florida on the 2016 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.
Sophomores Dalton Guthrie, Alex Faedo and Mike Rivera will join the team for the first time while JJ Schwarz will return to the team for the second summer in a row.
“I think it’s the highest honor a player can get,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We were very fortunate last year to have four guys and follow it up with four different players, actually this is JJ’s second trip. It’s awesome. It’s going to be a great experience for them. To have the opportunity to play for the USA team, it’s a very elite group.”
As a freshman Guthrie appeared in and started all but one game. With the departure of Richie Martin Guthrie made the move from second base to shortstop this season and he’s flourished. He’s second on the team with a .320 batting average and leads the team with 64 hits.
“I think Sully told me a week before and then when we went up to Tennessee [Dave] Serrano, who’s an assistant coach for the USA team, formally invited me,” Guthrie said. “It was pretty cool. It’s an honor, for sure.”
Faedo has followed up a very good freshman campaign with a downright dominant encore. Faedo is tied with Logan Shore for most wins in the conference (9) and is fourth in the conference with 91 strikeouts. Faedo has recorded double-digit strikeouts four times this season serving mainly in the role as Florida’s Sunday starter.
Rivera and Schwarz are no strangers for playing baseball for Team USA. The two catchers were teammates on the 18-U team before arriving in Gainesville. Rivera started in seven of the eight games at third and behind the plate, hitting .385 with a double, home run and tied for the team lead with nine runs batted in. Rivera is hitting .274 this season and is second on the club with 44 RBI and has caught nine runners stealing.
Schwarz returns to the Collegiate National Team for the second year in a row after joining the 2015 team with teammates Buddy Reed, A.J. Puk and Logan Shore. This season Schwarz’s power numbers have dropped slightly (home runs down from 18 to 6 and doubles down from 16 to 8) but he’s hit a steady .291 this season with 42 RBI — third best on the team.