THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012
Baseball hosts Kennesaw State in first A-Sun series Friday
Sophomore Chris Anderson will toe the rubber for JU this weekend.
Sophomore Chris Anderson will toe the rubber for JU this weekend.
A new slate starts for the JU baseball team Friday when it hosts Kennesaw State in the first Atlantic Sun Conference series of the season at John Sessions Stadium.

Friday’s first pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. They will start at 1 p.m. for the final two games on Saturday and Sunday. All three games can be heard live on 1010XL with the Voice of the Dolphins Terry Norvelle. Friday’s contest can also be seen on A-Sun.TV.

“We are ready to start conference play,” JU head coach Terry Alexander said. “Our goal every season is to win a conference title and that trek starts Friday. It’s been tough for us as of late, but I know our guys are excited for a challenging conference schedule.”

The Dolphins (10-12, 0-0 A-Sun) enter Friday after dropping a 17-11 decision at Georgia Southern Tuesday in Statesboro, Ga. The Eagles had an eight-run third inning and sixth-run fourth inning to outlast the Dolphins.

Junior Dan Gulbransen paced the Dolphins going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a career-best five RBI, highlighted by a two-run homer to left field in the seventh inning. Junior Adam Brett Walker II, sophomores Taylor Ratliff and Colin Monagle and freshman Garrett Ruckel all had two hits apiece.

Gulbransen has overtaken Ratliff for the team lead in offense with a .309 average (25-81). Ratliff still leads the Dolphins in runs scored with 20, while Brett Walker II has a team-best 18 RBI.

JU is scheduled to throw sophomore Chris Anderson, freshman Alex McRae and senior Steven Eagerton in the first weekend series.

Anderson and McRae each had complete-game efforts against Western Carolina last weekend in the Wingate by Wyndham Invitational. Anderson scattered two hits in the final eight frames and struck out five of the final nine batters to get the win. The Dolphins tied the game late for McRae, but an error and wild pitch in the ninth would make him a hard luck loser. Eagerton is still in search of his first win of the season after going 9-0 in 2011.

The Owls (12-9, 2-1) downed Presbyterian, 8-4, on Wednesday before heading to Jacksonville. They have won seven of the last nine games, including taking two against Mercer last weekend.

Aaron Dobbs leads the Owls with a .372 (32-86) clip, while also having 21 runs scored, six doubles and 15 RBI. Ronnie Freeman is hitting .329 (27-82) with a team-best 23 RBI.

On the mound, Josh Carr is 4-1 in five starts with a 4.82 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 28 inning of work. Steve Janas is 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA in five starts for the Owls.

In the all-time series, the Owls own an 11-7 lead over the Dolphins since starting play in 2006. JU earned an 11-7 win in 10 innings at Kennesaw State last season to break a three-game losing streak.

Fans can follow the action through live links on JUDolphins.com.