After having its four-game winning streak snapped, the JU baseball team (23-11, 12-6) will return to conference play by hosting Campbell (18-15, 4-10) beginning on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at John Sessions Stadium.
The series will conclude with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.
JU leads CU in the all-time series, 19-14, but the Camels won last year’s season series (2-1) in Buies Creek, N.C. The Dolphins have won the previous three games against the Camels at Johns Sessions Stadium.
All three games can been seen live through ASun.TV by logging onto JUDolphins.com. The first game of the douleheader will be broadcast live on 1010XL with Barry Milligan calling all of the action.
Against GSU, JU had its four-game winning streak snapped...freshman Clay Kollenbaum (1-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing two runs on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts in 0.2 innings of relief...junior Carson Andrew got the no-decision after allowing one run (none earned) on one hit with two walks and a strikeout in three innings...junior Kyle Kriech added three innings of scoreless relief...sophomore third baseman Glen Johnson led the Dolphins offense by going 2-for-3 with a double while junior first baseman Alex Martinez drove in a team-high two RBI...junior second baseman Chuck Opachich extended his career-best hitting streak to 25 games with an infield single to first in the first inning.
JU received votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers (NCBW) Top 30 Poll on March 30...the Dolphins are 66th in RPI rankings (.552), 75th in IRS rankings (109.4) and 139th in strength of schedule, according to Boyds World...JU leads the Atlantic Sun Conference with an 23-11 (.676) overall record...the Dolphins are second in team batting average (.312) and third in team ERA (5.51) in the conference rankings...Campbell leads the conference in team batting average (.356) but are 10th in team ERA (7.77).
Chuck is O-fensive
Junior Chuck Opachich has become a versatile part of the Dolphin lineup with his ability to play second base and center field.
What is also helping JU, offensively, is his bat and speed on the bases.
Despite not starting in the first two games of the season, Opachich has sparked a JU resurgence over the month of March by ranking second on the squad with a .400 batting average.
He also leads the squad with 56 hits, 35 runs, two triples and 10 stolen bases while ranking second with a .471 on-base percentage and third with seven doubles and 70 total bases.
In the conference rankings, he is second in average with runners on base (.469), third in average with RBI opportunity (.465), fourth in percentage advancing runners (.671), in batting average with two outs (.432) and hits (56) and tied for fifth in batting average (.400).
Opachich is currently in the midst of a career-best 25 game hitting streak in which he is batting .438 (49-112) since March 7. The program record of 27 games is held by Talmadge Nunnari during the 1997 season.
Hold on Loosen
Sophomore Matt Loosen had 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 a 54 strikeouts, 43.1 innings and a .192 opponent batting average.
In the A-Sun rankings, he is second with only 30 hits allowed, third with a .192 opposing batting average, fourth with a 2.70 ERA and only 13 runs allowed and fifth with 54 strikeouts.
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 .420 batting average, 11 doubles, 80 total bases, a .514 on-base percentage and a .672 slugging percentage.
Defensively, he has been just as stellar by not committing an error while gunning down 9-of-19 (.473) base runners on the year.
In the conference rankings, Gillan ranks second in batting average against right-handed pitching (.427), third in batting average (.420) and on-base percentage (.514) and fourth in batting average with runners on base (.455) and walks (24).
“Wild Thing” is back
JU has been in desperate need of a closer since Hunter Davis tallied 11 in 2005 and now the Dolphins have found one in sophomore Chris Kaminski.
The Richmond, Texas native joined the Dolphins after going 6-0 with a 3.86 ERA, four saves and 54 strikeouts as a freshman at Weatherford Junior College.
Thus far for the JU green & gold, Kaminski has lived up to the hype by leading the A-Sun with seven saves in seven opportunities while toping the bullpen with a 2.01 ERA. He has posted a 3-0 record and 22.1 innings of work in 18 appearances while helping the squad to an unblemished 19-0 record when leading after eight innings.