Two more Gators sign MLB contracts

Left-hander Alex Panteliodis and right-hander Tommy Toledo each recently signed professional contracts joining Josh Adams, Matt Campbell and Nick Maronde as 2011 Gators waiving their final year of eligibility at the University of Florida.

Panteliodis was selected by the New York Mets in the ninth round with the 282nd selection in June’s Major League Baseball Draft, and has been assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League, the organization’s Class A short-season affiliate. As for Toledo, he was taken in the 11th round with the 341st overall pick by the Milwaukee Brewers, and will be playing for Helena (Mont.) Brewers in the Pioneer League.

In 18 appearances as a junior, including 12 starts, Panteliodis was 6-2 with a 3.71 earned run average. The southpaw totaled 47 strikeouts and permitted just nine walks in 63 innings of work and limited opponents to a .249 batting average. The lefty was chosen to the 2011 NCAA Gainesville Regional All-Tournament Team after taking a shutout into the seventh inning against Miami (Fla.) in the championship game, an 11-4 triumph that enabled the Gators to reach Super Regionals for the third-consecutive year.

Panteliodis also earned the victory over Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament Final by tossing 5.1 scoreless frames in the 5-0 shutout that clinched Florida’s first SEC Tourney title since 1991. He later started the second meeting with the Commodores at the NCAA College World Series on June 24 and surrendered three hits and one run over six innings. Although he was not involved in the decision, the Gators posted a 6-4 win to clinch a berth in the CWS Championship Finals. In four postseason starts, Panteliodis was 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA and had 12 strikeouts and one walk in 22.1 innings.

During his sophomore season in 2010, the Tampa native led Florida in an assortment of categories: innings pitched (100.0), strikeouts (82), victories (11) and lowest batting average against by a starting pitcher (.234). Over 18 appearances, the left-hander was 11-3 with a 3.51 ERA and his total of 11 victories was the most by a Gator since Justin Hoyman went 11-2 in 2004. Versus Miami (Fla.) in the opener of the best-of-three NCAA Gainesville Super Regional, Panteliodis went the distance for his first career complete game and established a personal best with 12 strikeouts as the Gators collected a 7-2 triumph. He retired the final 14 Hurricane hitters of the contest and yielded three hits to register UF’s first complete game at the time since Stephen Locke accomplished the feat against Alabama on May 10, 2008.

Over his three-year tenure, Panteliodis compiled a record of 23-10 and registered a 3.81 ERA in 58 appearances and 38 starts. He is tied for seventh on the school’s all-time list for victories (23), is eighth in pickoffs (nine), is tied for ninth in games started (38) and is 10th in fewest walks issued per nine innings (1.91).

Toledo made 29 appearances for the Orange and Blue this season and was 6-3 with a 3.99 ERA. The righty had 32 strikeouts and 10 walks in 38.1 innings and picked up his first career save against USF on Feb. 19. Toledo was the winning pitcher in the Gators’ walk-off win over Miami (Fla.) during the Gainesville Regional and earned the decision in the third game of the Gainesville Super Regional against Mississippi State that sent Florida to Omaha for the second year in a row and the seventh time in the program’s history.

In 2010, Toledo received the Steve Georgiadis Award, given in memory of the former UF pitcher who passed away on March 17, 1990, to the Gator baseball player who has most overcome adversity. After being sidelined for the entire 2009 campaign, Toledo missed close to two months last year after being struck with a line drive versus Charleston Southern on March 14. He worked his way back into the lineup by May 12, when he fired a scoreless inning against Florida Atlantic. Toledo made 11 appearances in ‘10, including six starts, and was 3-2 with a 4.39 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 26.2 innings. He worked the ninth inning of the Gators’ NCAA College World Series opener against UCLA and tossed a scoreless eighth inning in the Gainesville Regional final versus Florida Atlantic. Toledo had notched two scoreless innings and had a pair of strikeouts in the win over UNF during his first start following his injury. Another highlight of his season was picking up the win the rubber match of the regular-season series at Miami (Fla.), when he totaled four K and permitted one run.

Toledo had previously been picked in the third round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres and in the 32nd round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins. Over 55 career appearances at UF, including 20 starts, the lefty was 13-9 with a 4.27 ERA and one save and had 89 strikeouts in 124.1 innings.