Following a four-game stretch in which he helped the Gator baseball team to a road victory over No. 1 Florida State and a series triumph over Kentucky by hitting .600 (9-for-15), senior Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) was chosen as the SEC’s Player of the Week on Monday. The award marked the first time that the right fielder has been honored by the league office.
Leclerc’s career-best 4-for-4 effort last Wednesday night was instrumental in halting the Seminoles’ 30-game winning streak at Dick Howser Stadium. The 5-4 victory enabled the Gators to capture the regular-season series from both Florida State and Miami (Fla.) in the same campaign for the first time since 1996 and marked FSU’s first loss at home since May 20, 2006 (15-7 to N.C. State).
He provided the Gators with a quick 2-0 lead with his second homer of the year in the opening frame. Senior Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) drew a two-out walk and Leclerc followed with a shot over the fence in right center. In the third, Leclerc roped an RBI single into center field to snap a 2-2 tie and provide Florida with a lead it would not relinquish. He also chipped in with base-hits in the fifth and ninth and earned a free pass in the seventh.
Over the weekend, Leclerc hit .455 (5-for-11) and scored four runs as the Gators rebounded from a loss on Friday night with consecutive wins over defending SEC co-champion Kentucky to capture the series. After a 1-for-4 showing in the first encounter with the Wildcats, he matched a season-high with three runs in Saturday’s 10-7 decision. Leclerc was hit by a pitch twice and smacked a key two-out double in the eighth as the hosts tacked on two insurance runs. In the series finale, he went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and UF used a walk-off single by senior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) to squeak past UK, 5-4.
Hitting a meager .043 on March 3, Leclerc has an impressive .412 (40-for-97) clip over the past 30 games to raise his average all the way up to .342. He currently ranks fourth in SEC games with a .422 (27-for-64) showing and 18 of his 21 RBI this season have come against league foes. Leclerc’s top single-season average as a collegian is .312 as a freshman in 2004. The Gators (23-20/10-8 SEC) return to action on Friday night in Nashville against the SEC’s Eastern Division leader, top-ranked Vanderbilt (35-8/12-6 SEC).
Courtesy UF Sports Information.