After scoring 31 runs in two games over the weekend, the JU baseball team (6-4) will conclude its three game homestand by hosting No. 2 Florida State (6-4) at John Sessions Stadium on Monday at 6 p.m.
JU trails FSU in the all-time series, 113-36, but the Dolphins and Seminoles have spit their season series (3-3) in the last three seasons.
The contest can be followed through ASun.TV and GameTracker by logging onto JUDolphins.com. Fans will also get to hear the first radio broadcast of the season on 1010XL as Barry Milligan calls all the action while J.P. Shadrick provides color commentary.
With the James Madison win on Sunday, the Dolphins earned their first win over the Dukes since 1981...JU, which received preseason votes in the NCBWA and USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll, is currently receiving votes in the USA Today/ESPN poll...the Dolphins are 4-5 in their last nine games against ranked opponents...JU has only scored first in two of its 10 games this season...the Dolphins finished with no errors against James Madison, the first time it has happened in 2010.
Down right offensive
The Dolphins have hit the ball hard as of late and the numbers have been staggering over the course of four games.
Beginning with Valparaiso on Feb. 28, JU tallied 23 runs on 23 hits (10 extra base hits) which also included a 10-run second inning.
On March 6, the Dolphins tallied 18 runs on 16 hits (five extra base hits) which included 13 runs in the final four innings of the contest.
On March 8, the onslaught continued as JU racked up 13 runs on 15 hits (six extra base hits) including a 10-run fourth inning.
The lone blemish during that span was a three run, five hit (one extra base hit) effort at Bethune-Cookman on March 3.
In the last four games, JU batted .373 (59-158) with 23 extra base hits to improve its overall batting average by nearly 50 points (.267-.314).
Producing more than just cheese
Thus far in 2010, the Wisconsin freshman duo of Dan Gulbransen and Adam Brett Walker are making Dolphin fans contemplate Cheesehead gear despite the Jacksonville Jaguars living across the St. John’s River.
Gulbransen, a center fielder from Appleton, leads the squad with a .452 batting average, nine RBI, a .742 slugging percentage and a .585 on-base percentage.
Walker, an OF/DH from Milwaukee, is batting .346 with three doubles, two home runs, eight RBI and a .692 slugging percentage.
Sophomore Kevin Lehane has found it hard to make his way into the lineup in the early part of the season.
Already serving as the primary back-up for senior first baseman Alex Martinez, Lehane got two starts as the DH to start the year. After going 1-for-7 in those starts and JU dropping two games to UNC Wilmington, freshman Adam Brett Walker was inserted into the lineup and batted .320 (8-25) with three doubles, two homers and seven RBI.
Lehane found himself in pinch hitting duty, which did include a walk-off single in the finale against UNCW, but did not find his name in the lineup for the next five games.
After showing some pop during practice, Lehane was given another opportunity in the lineup and is white hot ever since.
As the first baseman against Wagner, Lehane went 2-for-4 and led the charge on a JU rally with a grand slam. The next day against James Madison, he kept it going by finishing 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI.
Arms making their way back
The Dolphin pitching staff was not at 100 percent at the start of the season but things are slowly working towards that goal.
Junior Matt Loosen was sidelined the first two weeks with a knee injury but has made two appearances and a start since Feb. 28.
Junior Sean Green has been slowed by a shoulder injury and also missed the first two weeks. He made his first start on a limited pitch count on Feb. 28 and made a relief appearance on March 7.
Sophomore Steve Eagerton missed all of last season after recovering from elbow surgery. After two weeks, he made his first collegiate start against Wagner on March 6.
Senior Chuck Opachich enters his final year in a Dolphin uniform and is primed to etch his name in the JU history book.
A major cog in the program’s most successful run in the last four years, Opachich has garnered several honors including A-Sun all-freshman (2007), A-Sun preseason all-conference (2008, 2010), A-Sun all-tournament (2007, 2009) and A-Sun first team all-conference (2009) accolades.
Last season, Opachich set a milestone by tying Talmadge Nunnari (1997) with a program record 27-game hitting streak. In the JU single-season record book, he also tied Talmadge Nunnari (1997) with 90 hits on the year.
He is off to a good start in 2010 by going 17-for-42 (.405) with 17 runs and nine RBI through 10 games.
In the career book, he is currently 89 hits behind Ernie Carr (1985-88) for the program record. Opachich needs 11 to pass Rocky Rausch (1974-77) for fifth.