After ending a stretch of six games in six days, the JU baseball team (31-16, 17-10) will return to A-Sun play at Mercer (19-20, 8-13) for a three-game series beginning on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.
The series will continue on Sunday at 4 p.m. before concluding on Monday at 1 p.m.
JU leads the all-time series against Mercer, 20-12, including a 2-1 series win by then Dolphins last year at John Sessions Stadium.
In the last meeting at Claude Smith Field, the Bears came away with a 2-1 series win (March 28-30, 2007) which included games that went 13, seven and 10 innings, respectively.
Against B-CU, the Dolphins rallied in the fourth inning with 10 runs on seven hits..the Dolphins sent 16 batters to the plate, which included the first six batters reaching base safely before the first out was recorded...junior first baseman Alex Martinez went a career-best 4-for-4 with two doubles..sophomore center fielder Chris Connelly went 2-for-2 with two doubles and three RBI while senior designated hitter Jeremy Gillan tallied a home run in his fourth straight game with a three-run shot in the fourth...senior left fielder Kyle Fleming also finished with multiple hits for the Dolphins...junior Carson Andrew (4-3) earned the win after allowing four runs (three earned) on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts in five innings.
JU received votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers (NCBW) Top 30 Poll on March 30...the Dolphins are 54th in RPI rankings (.555), 74th in IRS rankings (109.3) and 126th in strength of schedule, according to Boyds World...JU leads the Atlantic Sun Conference with an 31-16 (.683) overall record...the Dolphins are second in team ERA (5.15) and are sixth in team batting average (.306) in the conference rankings...Mercer is seventh in team ERA (6.37) and eighth in team batting average (.293)...senior Jeremy Gillan is ranked sixth amongst collegiate catchers by Rivals.com’s College Power Rankings.
Gillan named academic all-district
After being named to the preseason all-conference team for his play on the field, senior catcher Jeremy Gillan is garnering awards for his work in the classroom, earning first team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District honors.
The Port St. Lucie, Fla. native posted a 3.74 GPA as an exercise science major. He also garnered Atlantic Sun Conference all-academic honors and was named to the Dean’s List last season.
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 .412 batting average, 16 doubles, 10 home runs, 120 total bases, a .507 on-base percentage and a .706 slugging percentage.
Defensively, he has been just as stellar by not committing an error while gunning down 14-of-31 (.452) base runners on the year.
In the conference rankings, Gillan is second in on-base percentage (.507) and average with runners on base (.457), third in batting average (.412), fourth in slugging percentage (.706), fifth in average vs. LHP (.474) and average with RBI opportunity (.456).
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 and April by ranking second on the squad with a .390 batting average.
He also leads the squad with 76 hits, 45 runs, three triples and 17 stolen bases while ranking second with a .462 on-base percentage and 93 total bases.
In the conference rankings, he leads the A-Sun in average with RBI opportunity (.467), is third in hits (76) and average with two outs (.446), fourth in average with runners on base (.442), fifth in triples (3) and stolen bases (17).
Opachich also set a milestone by tying Talmadge Nunnari (1997) with a program record 27-game hitting streak. During the streak from March 7-April 18, Opachich batted .434 (53-122) while the Dolphins went 20-7.