WEDNESDAY, JULY 13, 2011
Baseball picked to win an 2012 NCAA regional by Baseball America
The dirt from the 2011 season is barely off the Dolphins’ cleats, but the JU baseball team is already being slated for big things 2012 after Baseball America picked them as one of eight teams to win a NCAA regional next season.

The Dolphins, the lone mid-major of the group, joined Arizona State, Arkansas, UCLA, North Carolina, Texas, TCU and Vanderbilt as programs to advance to the Super Regionals in the earliest Baseball America 2012 preview.

The publication also had Baylor, Cal State Fullerton, FIU, Florida State, Miami, Missouri, St. John’s and San Diego as sleepers, while College World Series final participants South Carolina and Florida headlined the group to heading to Omaha.

“We are honored they think that highly of us already,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “We had a great year in 2011 and hope to build on it next season. On the flip side, this is only a prediction and we will have to take care of business on the field if we want a shot at making a goal like that come true.”

In 2011, the Dolphins posted a 37-24 mark en route to earning an at-large berth to their fourth NCAA regional in the last six seasons. JU finished with 21 wins at home and a 19-11 record in A-Sun play to pick up the No. 2 seed for the A-Sun Tournament. Along the way, the Dolphins handed national runner-up Florida its worst loss at home, 11-2, on May 17.

Senior first baseman Adam Brett Walker led the A-Sun with a .409 batting average, 99 hits and 23 doubles en route to A-Sun “Player of the Year” and first team all-conference honors. He also was the District III “Player of the Year” by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA) and a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy (NCBWA) and Golden Spikes Award (USA Baseball).

Walker became the first Dolphin since Casey Schumaker in 2001 with multiple All-America awards after earning first team honors from Perfect Game USA and second team accolades from the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), Baseball America, Louisville Slugger (Collegiate Baseball) and the NCBWA.

Counting Walker, the Dolphins had a program-best eight A-Sun all-conference honors. Sophomore centerfielder Dan Gulbransen joined Walker on the first team, while junior starting pitcher Steve Eagerton, junior shortstop Jimmy Howick and freshman reliever Chris Anderson garnered second team accolades. Anderson also picked up all-freshman honors with second baseman Taylor Ratliff and starting pitcher Tony Mollica.

Ratliff and Anderson received freshman All-America accolades from the NCBWA, while Anderson got the same honor from Collegiate Baseball. Walker and Gulbransen also earned all-south region honors from the ABCA.

Following the season, Howick was selected in the 21st round of the MLB draft by the Houston Astros, while senior pitcher Matthew Tomshaw was taken in the 42nd round by the Minnesota Twins. Senior catcher Alex Swenson had a tryout with the Kansas City Royals that led to a contract with the Newark Bears of Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball.

The Dolphins also have 12 players still in action in summer collegiate leagues, including Walker and Gulbransen who are in the prestigious Cape Cod league.