Baseball hosts Wingate by Wyndham Invitational starting Friday
The JU baseball team closes its longest home stand of the year with a busy slate of games in the Wingate by Wyndham Invitational starting Friday at John Sessions Stadium.

The Dolphins (8-9) will host Western Carolina (13-4) on Friday at 6:30 p.m. They will play two games Saturday starting at 2 p.m. against Fairfield (6-8) and the Catamounts. JU finishes the weekend Sunday against the Stags at 6:30 p.m.

“This is a busy weekend for us,” JU head coach Terry Alexander said. “We have a nice little sprint of five games before we start A-Sun play next weekend. This is a great time for us to shake off our tedious mistakes and start a good streak as we begin the conference schedule.”

JU enters the weekend following a two-game sweep of Akron. The Dolphins used three two-out runs to down the Zips, 5-2, Tuesday. They finished the sweep with a 5-1 victory Wednesday.

Sophomore Taylor Ratliff continues to pace the Dolphins offense in hits (21), average (.313), runs scored (15) and stolen bases (11). He has reached base in 14 of the last 16 games since going hitless in the opener at Southern California.

Junior Dan Gulbransen is the next highest Dolphin offensively, hitting .288 (19-66) with six doubles and seven RBI. Senior Jonathan Murphy is first in RBI with 15.

The pitching staff will have its normal weekend rotation for the first time since the Southern California series. Sophomore Chris Anderson will go Friday, while senor Steve Eagerton and freshman Alex McRae are slated for Saturday. Junior Wes Torrez will pitch Sunday on the heels of his good start against Wagner (3/11).

McRae leads the JU pitching staff with a 2-0 mark and a 2.39 ERA in 26.1 innings. He has gone seven innings in three of his first four starts at JU. Anderson looks to build off his win against Wagner (3/9), while Eagerton hopes to snap a rare three-game skid.

The Catamounts head to Jacksonville on a three-game winning streak, including an 8-4 win against No. 23 Clemson Wednesday. The Stags will host Akron tonight after beating Chicago State Tuesday.

In the all-time series, the Catamounts have won all three games against the Dolphins. They earned a 7-0 win to eliminate the Dolphins from the NCAA Regional in 2007. It will be the first meeting for the Dolphins against the Stags.

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