MONDAY, MAY 25, 2009
Baseball heads to Gainesville for NCAA Regionals
The JU baseball team will make its third NCAA appearance in the last four years this weekend as they travel to the Gainesville regional.
The Dolphins, seeded third, will face second seed Miami in the opening round matchup on Friday, starting at 1 p.m. Top-seeded Florida will face fourth-seeded Bethune-Cookman to round out the regional matchups.
“Anytime you’re in the postseason, it’s an exciting time,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “We’ve got a busy week ahead of us to get ready to play against three very good teams. Being close to home is great for our fans, many of which are going to make the trip down for the games.”
Jacksonville (36-20) rallied to win both games in the rain-shortened Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament as Alex Martinez’s two-run homer in the top of the ninth put the Dolphins on top for good.
While Martinez’s home run was the winning blow, the Dolphins got stellar performances throughout the weekend.
There was Billy Schlee’s career-best seven innings of three-hit relief in the semifinals against Belmont that allowed the Dolphins to rally past the Bruins. Aiding that pitching effort was Jeremy Gillan, who drove in three runs to lead the offense.
Against Lipscomb, Carson Andrew pitched five stellar innings over two days to put JU in position to win the title. Matt Loosen, who allowed the first four batters he faced in the start against Belmont to reach base, got the win in the title game with 2.1 scoreless innings of relief.
The tournament title, the third in JU’s 11 years in the A-Sun, sends the Dolphins to the postseason for the 13th time – with Gainesville being the team’s destination for the Regionals for the second time, the first coming in 1991.
JU’s success wasn’t just in winning the tournament. The Dolphins racked up 36 wins during the season, the seventh time in Alexander’s 19 years as head coach that Jacksonville has won 35 games or more. It is the school’s ninth postseason appearance under the veteran head coach, who claimed his 600th career victory earlier this season.
To top it off, the spot in the Regionals marks the most successful four-year stretch in program history as JU makes its third trip during that time.
Tickets are on sale at the Florida ticket office starting on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. For more information, visit www.gatorzone.com/tickets or call the Florida ticket office at (800) 344-2867, ext. 6800.