Florida pitcher Brian Johnson most likely will return for NCAA Super Regional
Florida sophomore pitcher/DH Brian Johnson, who missed the NCAA Regional with a severe concussion he suffered when he was accidentally hit in the head by catcher Mike Zunino in the SEC Tournament, is expected to return for this weekend's NCAA Super Regional.
Johnson has practiced three days this week, and has been able to full participate. His headaches have also ceased, Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said, all clearing the way for his return.
“I anticipate hopefully that everything goes well and he’ll be able to go,’’ O’Sullivan said. “He was out here (Wednesday) and he went through full practice, threw a bullpen, took BP, looked great. He’s fully rested. He’s a big, physical guy. I think the rest probably helped him a little bit. I think it would help anybody this time of year, but he looked great. You get to this point in the year, a guy throws 80-85 innings, it’s not a bad thing that he gets a week or 10 days off. I think it’s a good thing.’’
Florida will host Mississippi State in the best-of-three Super Regional beginning Friday at noon at McKethan Stadium The Gators have gone 3-1 against the Bulldogs this season.
It was Johnson’s seventh-inning grand slam in the first game of the SEC Tournament that propelled Florida to a 7-5 come-from-behind win over Mississippi State. It was a game, the players said, that boosted the Gators’ confidence heading into the postseason. Johnson is 7-1 this season with a 2.92 ERA.
The Gators most likely won't have first baseman and closer Austin Maddox, who injured his right foot chasing a foul ball in this past weekend's NCAA Regional game against Manhattan.