After sweeping UCF in a season series for the first time since 1999, the JU baseball team (14-8, 5-4) will return to conference action against USC Upstate (7-14, 2-7) beginning on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at John Sessions Stadium.
The series will conclude on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.
JU trails the all-time series against USCU, 2-1, after the Spartans took the inaugural series at Harley Park last season. The Spartans are in their second season after making the jump from the Divison II level.
Each game can be followed live on ASun.TV and GameTracker through JUDolphins.com. The second game of the series can be heard live on 1010XL with Barry Milligan calling all of the action.
Against UCF, JU earned its first season series sweep over the Knights since 1999 (3-0)...in game one, the Dolphins earned their first win at Jay Bergman Field since a 10-9 decision on March 28, 2005...JU has now won the last two meetings between the two schools...junior center fielder Chuck Opachich went 2-for-4 with a triple and three RBI...senior Billy Schlee (1-2) got the win after allowing three runs on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 4.1 innings...sophomore Sean Green got the no-decision after allowing four runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts in 3.2 innings...senior right fielder Thomas Myers went 3-for-5 with a double while sophomore second baseman Jamaal Hawkins went 3-for-5 with two RBI...senior catcher Jeremy Gillan also went 3-for-6 with a triple and two RBI...in game two, the Dolphins won their first contest when trailing after seven innings (1-6) by rallying for seven runs in the eighth...sophomore Chris Kaminski (1-0) earned the win after striking out one and allowing a hit in two innings of scoreless relief...freshman Clay Kollenbaum got the no-decision after allowing four runs on six hits in 5.2 innings...junior Kyle Kriech surrendered one unearned run on two hits in 1.1 inning of relief to keep JU in the game...offensively, the Dolphins had everyone in their lineup record at least one hit in the game...Gillan paced the squad by going 3-for-4 with a double while Hawkins went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI...Opachich also finished 2-for-5 in the contest to run his career-high hitting streak to 13 games.
What a difference a weekend makes
After its series against Stetson on March 13-15, the Dolphin starting rotation did their part to help infuse the name “A-Run Conference” but this past weekend against FGCU was a different story.
Against Stetson, JU’s starting rotation went 1-2 with a 13.00 ERA while allowing 23 hits, 13 earned runs with seven walks and only four strikeouts in nine innings.
Against FGCU, the staff bounced back by going 2-1 with a 3.46 ERA while allowing 22 hits, seven earned runs with four walks and 13 strikeouts in 18.2 innings.
Hold on Loosen
Sophomore Matt Loosen has been "Mr. Fix It" out of the bullpen through 17 games for JU in 2009.
In six appearances out of the pen, Loosen tallied two saves while posting a 2.35 ERA, a staff-high 22 strikeouts and a bullpen-best 15.1 innings of work.
Among his most influential outings was striking out four in the final two innings in a win over No. 6 Florida State. Loosen also helped turn the tide in the SunTrust River City Rumble series by tallying the save in a 4-3 win over UNF in game two.
Due to injuries, Loosen was pressed into service in the starting rotation and now he might not be leaving for a while.
In his first start in 2009, Loosen did not allow a run through seven innings and left the contest with runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. Although the bullpen allowed two runs to score, Loosen dominated first-place FGCU by scattering five hits with a career-high seven strikeouts in a career-best 7.1 innings as JU took game one by a score of 3-2.
He currently leads the staff with 29 strikeouts and 22.2 innings.
Senior catcher Jeremy Gillan came out swinging last season after transferring from from Indian River CC and is picking up where he left off in 2009.
Last season, he led the Dolphins in hits (83), doubles (10), home runs (9), RBI (60), total bases (120), slugging percentage (.545), sacrifice flies (6), multi-hit games (27), multi-RBI games (16) and fielding percentage (.987) en route to second team all-conference honors.
A preseason all-conference selection this year, Gillan leads the squad with a .459 batting average, 34 hits, a .533 on-base percentage and 12 walks. He is second in runs (19), home runs (3), RBI (22) and slugging percentage (.703).
Defensively, he has been just as stellar by not committing an error while gunning down 6-of-9 (.667) base runners on the year.
In his last 10 games, Gillan has been white hot by leading the squad with a .514 batting average (19-37) with four doubles, a triple, 13 RBI, a .757 slugging percentage and a .548 on-base percentage.
Rocky mountain high
Senior right fielder Thomas Myers is swinging a hot bat and it could prove to be trouble for opposing pitchers.
Despite JU going 2-2 during the second-annual JU Invitational, the Lakewood, Colo. native led the squad by going 7-for-12 with three doubles, two home runs, five RBI, 16 total bases, a .667 on-base percentage and a 1.333 slugging percentage.
In a 6-4 win over Akron, he finished 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. In a doubleheader vs. #25 Michigan, Myers combined to go 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI. In the finale against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he did his part again by going 2-for-3 with a double and a home run.
He followed that weekend by batting 6-for-10 (.600) with a double, a home run and four RBI while slugging 1.000 and finishing with a .583 on-base percentage in a 2-1 series win over cross-town rival UNF.
Myers continued to produce big-time hits at the right time by going 2-for-4 with a home run while tying a career high with four RBI in a 7-2 win over conference leading FGCU in game two.
Myers currently leads the squad in doubles (9), home runs (5), RBI (24) and slugging percentage (.709).