Baseball opens 2006 home season against Georgia Southern on Tuesday

Feb. 6, 2006


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After opening the season on the right foot, the Jacksonville baseball team will open the 2006 home season at Alexander Brest Field against Georgia Southern (1-1) on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Last season, the two squads split its season series (1-1) with each team winning big at their respective home field. It marked the fourth consecutive season in which the Dolphins opened the year with a win.

In the latest action: The Dolphins finished with 18 runs and 18 hits, while the pitching staff allowed only one run on five hits to lead the JU baseball team to a lopsided, 18-1, win over Florida A&M Wednesday afternoon at Moore-Kittles Field. JU scored four runs in the first, three in the second and third and two runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Florida A&M was led by Peter Guastella, who finished 2-for-4 in the contest. Senior Kyle DeVries earned the win after allowing only one run on two hits with two walks and a strikeout in four innings of a pre-determined start. Junior Thomas LePage led the Dolphin offense with after going 3-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI. Senior Gordie Gronkowski finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI, while junior Daniel Murphy went 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and four RBI.

Alexander in search of 500: JU head coach Terry Alexander set the the Dolphin program record for career wins (433) with a 7-4 win over Bethune-Cookman on April 30, 2003 at Alexander Brest Field. He is within reach of surpassing another milestone in the early weeks of the 2006 season, the 500 win plateau. Alexander currently has 490 wins in his 15-year career.

Dolphin notables: Against Florida A&M, JU pounded out 18 runs on 18 hits, including 14 runs in the first five innings. Junior third baseman Daniel Murphy finished 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and four RBI. Senior first baseman Gordie Gronkowski batted 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI. The Dolphin pitching staff combined to allow only one run on five hits in the contest. Sophomore LHP Matt Dobbins hurled two innings of shutout relief, including four strikeouts. The contest was the largest margin of victory for the Dolphins since a 19-0 win over Florida A&M to open the 2002 season.

New face on the staff: Tim Montez, an assistant head coach at Fresno State for the past three years, was named pitching coach/recruiting coordinator on July 11. In 14 seasons as an assistant coach at the Division I level, Montez has had 28 pitchers sign professional contracts and has coached, recruited or worked with 12 major league players. Prior to Fresno State, he served as a pitching coach with Arkansas, Cal State Northridge, UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine. During that time, Montez has also been part of programs which have earned five NCAA Post-Season Regional berths (Pepperdine -1, UCSB - 1, Arkansas - 3), including a spot in the Super Regional (Arkansas, 2002).

Dolphins announce early signees: The Dolphins announced the signing of six student-athletes during the early signing period, including local products RHP Carson Andrew and shortstop Chuck Opachich (Jacksonville/Episcopal). The local duo will join RHP Glenn Witkowski (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), shortstop/RHP Matt Gardner (Livermore, Calif.), catcher Alex Swenson (Alexandria, Va.) and RHP Jason Hooper (Lake Mills, Wis.) in 2006. The signees marked the beginning of the first recruiting class under recruiting coordinator/pitching coach Tim Montez. Montez, who joined the Dolphins after a three-year stint with Fresno State, had nine nationally ranked recruiting classes in 12 years as a recruiting coordinator.

Dolphins ready to compete: JU will once again face a tough schedule as the Dolphins will play No. 16 Florida State. JU is also slated to play four other teams which played in last year's NCAA Regionals - Harvard, Ohio State, Florida Atlantic and Stetson. The Dolphins will also square off against perrenial powers USF, Connecticut, Maryland and Penn State. All totaled, the Dolphins will play seven teams from the state of Florida.

Atlantic Sun preseason rankings: The Dolphins are the tied for 5th in the Preseason Atlantic Sun Conference Coaches Poll and 6th in the Media Polls. Florida Atlantic was selected first in both polls while Stetson, North Florida, Gardner-Webb and East Tennessee State rounded out the top five.