FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2006
Baseball hosts South Florida this weekend

Feb. 17, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

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After taking the first game of a three-game set at USF on Tuesday, the Dolphins return to Alexander Brest Field and will look for their first series win against the Bulls (2-2) since 2001. The first game of the weekend set will be on Saturday at 1 p.m. before the finale on Sunday at noon.

In the latest action: Junior RHP D.J. Ackley got his first win of the season while senior LHP Aaron Parvey and freshman RHP Tim Brown each put out a few fires in relief to lead JU to a 4-3 win over USF on Feb. 14 at Red McEwen Field. JU scored two runs in the first second innings to end a four-game skid against the Bulls. USF got two runs in the third and a run in the ninth but stranded 10 runners in the contest. Ackley (1-1) earned his first win after allowing two runs (none earned) on four hits while waking five and striking out seven in 5.2 innings of work. Parvey allowed only one run on two hits with two walks in 2.1 innings and Brown added an inning of shutout relief to earn his first career save. Senior Gordie Gronkowski went 2-for-3 with an RBI and junior Pete Clifford added a two-run single to lead the Dolphin offense. Juniors Daniel Murphy and Justin Young also finished with multiple hits.

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 now within reach of surpassing another milestone in the early weeks of the 2006 season, the 500 win plateau. Alexander currently has 495 wins in his 16th year.

Dolphin notables: The Dolphins are averaging 8.8 runs per game and have scored at least 10 runs in three of the six games this season. JU is also outscoring its opponents 39-4 in the first four innings, including a 13-0 advantage in the fourth inning. JU currently has 53 runs, six home runs and 97 total bases compared to 13 runs, no home runs and 57 total bases for its opponents.

Tommy likey: Junior Thomas LePage started hot in the 2005 season due to the absence of Gordie Gronkowski at first base, but in 2006, he's not going anywhere after another hot start in 2006. Assuming the designated hitter role, LePage leads the squad with 10 hits and four doubles and is tied for the team lead with nine RBI. He also its tied for the team lead with four multi-hit games and three multi-RBI games, including a career-high three hits and four RBI in the season opener at Florida A&M.

Murphy's Law: Junior third baseman Daniel Murphy has picked up where he left off in 2005 and during summer league play, while also providing the Dolphins with a solid glove at the hot corner. Last season, Murphy had a .238 average heading into a three-game series against UCF on March 25 before finishing the year with a team-high .329 after going 72-for-219 to raise his average over 90 points. Over the summer, Murphy earned Valley Baseball League Most Valuable Player honors with the Luray Wranglers after leading the league with 57 hits, 44 runs scored and 16 doubles. In 2006, he is currently in the midst of a career-high 10 game hitting streak and leads the squad with 10 runs, nine RBI, 17 total bases, an 8.10 slugging percentage and a .586 on-base percentage.

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.