After earning a split through Tallahassee, the JU baseball team (21-19, 10-7) will return to conference action against Kennesaw State (18-26, 7-11) beginning on Friday at 7 p.m.
The Dolphins and Owls will complete their series with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m.
JU trails KSU in the all-time series, 7-5, including a 7-2 mark by the Owls in the last three seasons. The Dolphins have not won a series since sweeping the Owls in Kennesaw in 2006.
All three games can be followed on ASun.TV or through live stats by logging onto JUDolphins.com.
In the extra-inning loss to FSU, JU tallied 10 runs for the second straight game at Dick Howser Stadium for the first time in program history. The highest run tally in program history was 12 in 1973...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 15-1 on the year when scoring 10 or more runs and have posted 10 or more runs in their last three games...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 17-7 record with a home run...the Dolphins are 3-7 in their last 10 games against ranked opponents - including a 2-3 mark in 2010.
The “Southpaw Silencer”
Expected to be a complimentary point of the rotation in 2010, junior Matt Tomshaw has emerged as the stopper for the Dolphins with efficient consistency.
Showing improvement each season (6.38 ERA - Fr., 4.50 ERA - So.) as he progressed from the bullpen to starter, Tomshaw currently leads the squad with a 5-1 record and leads all starters with 54.1 innings.
His finest moment of the year was a complete-game victory over ETSU on April 10 in which he struck out eight batters and gave JU its first nine inning performance since Dennis Robinson in 2004.
Who is “Freshman of the Year”?
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 .399 batting average, 57 hits, 41 runs, a .519 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 13 home runs, 45 RBI, 97 total bases and a.703 slugging percentage while ranking fourth with a .341 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.
“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.
Senior Chuck Opachich is in 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 Nunnari (1997) with 90 hits.
After getting off to a hot start, he has been hampered by a hamstring injury which caused him to miss five games (3/10-17).
Currently fifth in the career book, he is currently 69 hits behind Ernie Carr (1985-88) for the program record. He is 22 hits shy of surpassing Chris Hayes (1992-95) for fourth on the all-time list.