With another A-Sun Tournament bid, the No. 5 seed JU baseball team (25-27, 14-12) will travel to Dugan Field for its first round matchup against No. 2 Mercer (33-22, 16-11) on Wednesday at 3 p.m. CT.
No. 1 FGCU (37-18, 25-5) will face No. 6 Stetson (27-29, 13-13) at 11 a.m. CT. No. 3 ETSU (30-26, 15-12) and No. 4 UNF (29-26, 14-12) will end the first day at 7 p.m. CT.
JU leads the all-time series against Mercer, 28-19, but the Bears won the season series (2-1) for the first time in three years.
The contest can be viewed for free on ASun.TV or followed through live stats by logging onto JUDolphins.com.
JU in the A-Sun Tournament
* For the ninth time in 12 seasons, JU has earned a bid to the A-Sun postseason tournament under head coach Terry Alexander.
* The Dolphins enter with the No. 5 seed in the tournament for the first time since 2002. That season, JU was eliminated on the second day by FAU.
* The Dolphins won last year’s A-Sun Tournament as the No. 1 seed as heavy rains forced the format to single elimination.
* The Dolphins also won the conference tourney in 2007 as the No. 4 seed and 2003 as the No. 6 seed.
* The last time JU and Mercer faced each other in the A-Sun Tourney, the Bears eliminated the Dolphins with a 7-6 win in 2006.
With a 25-27 mark, JU is in jeopardy of finishing below .500 for the first time since 2008 (27-29)...with an 8-4 win over FGCU on May 15, head coach Terry Alexander earned his 300th career A-Sun victory...the Dolphins are 1-3 on the year in extra inning games...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...JU has a pair of four-game winning streaks on the year....the Dolphins are 4-17 when not hitting a home runs as opposed to an 21-10 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.
JU gets five all-A-Sun honorees
After earning the No. 5 seed in the A-Sun Tournament, JU baseball received seven A-Sun all-conference accolades as five Dolphins earned accolades.
Leading the way for JU, freshman center fielder Dan Gulbransen was the lone representative on the first team while also taking all-freshman accolades en route to “Freshman of the Year” honors. Freshman designated hitter Adam Brett Walker earned second team honors while also being selected to the all-freshman team. Junior pitchers Matt Tomshaw and Chris Kaminski and junior shortstop Jamaal Hawkins also garnered second team honors to also represent JU.
Gulbransen, who is the first Dolphin to be named FOY since Gordie Gronkowski (2003), is also the first JU player to be named first team and FOY since Brian Evans in 1988. Walker is the first Dolphin to earn second team and all-freshman honors since Jody Treadwell in 1990.
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 8-1 record (6-0 in conference play) and leads the staff with 80.1 innings.
He also notched his first complete-game victory over ETSU on April 10 in which he struck out eight batters. Tomshaw recorded his second complete-game win against Kennesaw State on May 8. With his third complete game win against FGCU on May 15, Tomshaw had gone the distance in three of his last four starts.
He just missed his fourth in a 3-1 win at Stetson on May 21 but he was unable to finish the ninth inning.
With his three complete games on the season, he becomes the first Dolphin to tally more than two since Dennis Robinson (7) during the 2004 season.
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 battled it out for “Freshman of the Year.”
Gulbransen, a 5-foot-10, 205 pound, center fielder from Appleton, currently leads the squad with a .401 batting average, 75 hits, 51 runs, two triples, a .506 on-base percentage and 38 walks. He also ranks third with 45 RBI and eight 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, DH/1B from Milwaukee, leads JU with 15 home runs, 55 RBI and a.650 slugging percentage while ranking second with 117 total bases and fourth with a .322 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.
After being moved to the starting roation for three weeks, Kaminski went back to the pen and earned a win over Stetson on May 20. During the extra inning contest, he allowed only one walk in four innings of perfect relief.
He was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) “Stopper of the Year” Watch List.
Hold on Loosen
Junior Matt Loosen has returned from injury and is showing people why he was a unanimous preseason selection as he was among three Dolphins to be named to the 2010 A-Sun all-preseason team.
After missing the first week of the season with a knee injury, Loosen made his first appearance against Richmond on Feb. 28. He followed that up with his first start on March 3 at Bethune-Cookman - allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts in five innings.
He looks to be in mid-season form after his performance against No. 2 Florida State on March 8. The Noles entered the contest scoring at least 10 runs in nine of its 10 games but Loosen allowed only one run on six hits while striking out a career-best 11 batters in seven innings.
Loosen increased his record to 3-1 on the year after allowing only one run on four hits with 10 strikeouts at USC Upstate on April 2.
He enters the tournament on a hot streak after allowing only one run with seven strikeouts in a seven inning no-decision on May 20.
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 .350 (48-137) with seven doubles, a triple, five home runs, 30 RBI and a .526 slugging percentage.
During that period, he has raised his batting average over 190 points to .297.
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 59 hits behind Ernie Carr (1985-88) for the program record. He is 12 hits shy of surpassing Chris Hayes (1992-95) for fourth on the all-time list.