THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2012
Baseball starts final home stand vs. Mercer Friday
The JU baseball team starts its final 2012home stand Friday against Mercer in an Atlantic Sun Conference series at John Sessions Stadium.

Friday’s first pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. and can be seen live on A-Sun.tv. They will play Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.

“Finals are behind us and we have nothing but baseball to focus on,” JU head coach Terry Alexander said. “All of the games remaining on the schedule are very important as we try to secure a spot into the A-Sun tournament. We need our best effort and I know the guys are ready for the challenge.”

The Dolphins (14-28, 4-11) enter the weekend on a five-game losing streak after getting swept at USC Upstate in the last A-Sun series. The Dolphins led in the final two contests, but mistakes allowed the Spartans to rally and take the series.

Despite the week, junior Adam Brett Walker II is finding momentum after batting .588 (10-17) with five RBI, four runs scored, three doubles and two home runs in five games. He went 4-for-4 with two doubles and a home run in the game one loss at USC Upstate. Walker II currently leads the Dolphins in average (.338), hits (52), runs scored (30), doubles (12), home runs (8) and RBI (34).

Junior Jake Huxtable has 12 hits in the last 10 games to move into third on the team with a .284 clip (42-148). He is the Dolphins second-best hitter in A-Sun play with a .339 average (19-56), three doubles and five RBI.

The JU weekend rotation of sophomore Chris Anderson, freshman Alex McRae and junior Drew Woods each had good outings at USC Upstate, but ended up with the hard luck results.

Anderson allowed two runs on seven hits and six strikeouts in seven innings before getting the no-decision. McRae allowed a hit in 7.1 innings and Woods struck out six in a season-high seven innings, but two bad innings erased their results

The Bears (26-18, 8-11) took a two-game midweek series from Alabama State before traveling to the First Coast. Mercer dropped two of three games at East Tennessee State last weekend.

Nick Backlund and Logan Gaines each have 11 home runs to power the Bears offense. Backlund also leads the Bears in hits (66), doubles (16) and RBI (42).

The Bears have six wins each from pitchers Brandon Love and Dimitri Kourtis. Love, Friday’s probable starter, has a team-best 55 strikeouts in 60 innings.

In the all-time series, the Dolphins own a 31-23 lead dating back to the first meeting the 1978 season. The Dolphins swept last season’s series in Macon, but the Bears beat JU twice in the A-Sun tournament in Nashville. Mercer took two of three games in Jacksonville during the last road series in 2010.

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