TUESDAY, MAY 04, 2010
Baseball begins two-game trek in Tallahassee
Junior Alex Swenson
Junior Alex Swenson
After earning a split in rain soaked Tennessee, the JU baseball team (20-18) will return to non-conference action with a two-game road trip through Tallahassee beginning with No. 5 Florida State (33-11) on Tuesday at 6 p.m.. The Dolphins will compete their week against Florida A&M (10-28-1) on Wednesday at 4 p.m. JU trails FSU in the all-time series, 114-37, including a split in two games this season with the road team coming away the victor. The Dolphins and Seminoles have spit their season series in the last three years. JU leads the all-time series against FAMU, 52-3, including a 13-game winning streak. The last loss for the Dolphins was a 6-2 decision on Feb. 12, 2003 in Tallahassee. The game against the Seminoles can be heard live on 1010XL with Barry Milligan calling all of the action or followed on GameTracker or live stats. Wednesday’s game can be followed through live stats.

Dolphin notables
After their 10-8 win at No. 6 FSU on April 14, the Dolphins tallied their second highest run tally in program history (12 - 1973) and have now won at Dick Howser Stadium in two of its last three opportunities...with a 4-0 win over FIU, the Dolphins earned their first shutout since a 3-0 decision over Belmont on March 9, 2008 at John Sessions Stadium...the Dolphins are 14-0 on the year when scoring 10 or more runs...JU has a pair of four-game winning streaks on the year....the Dolphins are 4-12 on the year when not hitting a home runs as opposed to an 16-6 record with a home run...the Dolphins are 4-6 in their last 10 games against ranked opponents - including a 2-2 mark in 2010.

“Wild Thing” is back
JU has been in desperate need of a closer since Hunter Davis tallied 11 saves in 2005 and now the Dolphins have one in junior Chris Kaminski. The Richmond, Texas native joined JU in 2009 after going 6-0 with a 3.86 ERA, four saves and 54 strikeouts as a freshman at Weatherford Junior College. Kaminski lived up to the hype by leading the A-Sun with eight saves in nine opportunities last season while topping the bullpen with 25 appearances, a 2.70 ERA, five wins and 33.1 innings, helping the squad to a 28-1 record when leading after eight innings. For his efforts, he earned A-Sun second team all-conference honors and was named to the 2010 preseason all-conference team. With a save against FIU on April 28, he pulled to within one save of Joe Ausanio (16, 1985-88) as the programs top closer. He was recently named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) “Stopper of the Year” Watch List. Due to injuries and inconsistency of the starting rotation, Kaminski earned his second start of the year at No. 6 Florida State on April 15. Although he did not factor in the decision, he allowed only two runs on two hits while striking out five in six innings.

­­­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. The initial thought process for the JU coaching staff was to bring the duo along slowly to get them used to the college game. Instead of battling for playing time, the duo is battling for the title of Atlantic Sun Conference “Freshman of the Year.” Gulbransen, a 5-foot-10, 205 pound, center fielder from Appleton, currently leads the squad with a .376 batting average, 37 runs, a .506 on-base percentage and 35 walks. He also ranks second with 50 hits, 38 RBI and seven home runs. A four-year starter at Fox Valley Lutheran HS, Gulbransen finished his prep career with 126 hits and 26 home runs. A four-time all-conference selection, he was named first team all-state and all-area while garnering Eastern Valley Conference “Player of the Year” honors. Walker, a 6-foot-5, 225 pound, OF/DH from Milwaukee, leads JU with 12 home runs and a.683 slugging percentage while ranking second with 38 RBI and fifth with a .325 batting average. A three-year starter at Milwaukee Lutheran HS, Walker was named all-state, all-area and all-conference as a junior and senior. He played in the Brewer Classic at MIller Park and was an invitee to the 2009 Powerhouse Showcase Home Run Derby at Tropicana Field.

­­­Murphy breaks out
An A-Sun all-freshman team selection last season, sophomore outfielder Jonathan Murphy had high expectations n 2010 but it took a while to get started. After starting the year on in 0-for-13 slump, Murphy saw himself playing sparingly and was hitting a paltry .103 (4-39) with only one extra-base hit (triple) on March 23. The coaching staff decided to make a change and keep him in the lineup to work his way out of it and the move has proved beneficial for both parties. Since being inserted into the lineup on a regular basis on March 23, Murphy is hitting .405 (30-74) with six doubles, a triple,four home runs, 18 RBI and a .676 slugging percentage. During that period, he has raised his batting average more than 200 points to .305.

Hawkins named to Wallace Watch List
Junior Jamaal Hawkins has been coming into his own over the last month and his efforts have put him on the national radar as he was named to the Wallace Watch List for shortstops. Things didn’t start off so hot for Hawkins at the beginning of the season as he batted .250 (7-28) with only two extra base hits (two doubles) in the first 11 games. After a short benching, Hawkins was inserted back into the lineup on March 10 and has been nothing short of phenomenal ever since. Since March 10, Hawkins is tearing the cover off of the ball by hitting a sizzling .398 (41-103) with 11 doubles, six home runs, 32 RBI, 70 total bases and a .680 slugging percentage. He did not play in the contest at Florida on April 6 due to back spasms in pre-game batting practice.