Baseball travels to Georgia Southern on Tuesday

Feb. 20, 2006


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After sweeping a three-game series against South Florida last week, including the program's first series win over the Bulls since 2001, the Dolphins will complete their season series against Georgia Southern (4-4) on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at J.I. Clements Stadium. In the first game of the series, the Dolphins pounded out 10 runs on 11 hits, including a seven-run fourth inning to defeat the Eagles at Alexander Brest Field on Feb. 7. JU will be in search of its sixth-straight win and its first season sweep of Georgia Southern since 1999. The Dolphins have not won in Statesboro since an 8-0 decision on Feb. 21, 2001.

In the latest action: Junior Mike McCallister went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI and sophomore LHP Matt Dobbins notched his second win to lead the JU baseball team to an 8-4 win to sweep South Florida, Sunday afternoon at Alexander Brest Field. JU, which increased its winning streak to five, exploded for four runs in the bottom of the sixth to secure the win. USF managed four runs on six hits as the Dolphins eventually got to Bulls starter Daniel Thomas. Dobbins (2-0) earned the win after allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts in seven innings of work. Junior Pete Clifford finished 3-for-4 with two runs and junior Logan James went 2-for-5 with a triple to round out the Dolphins with multiple hits. Junior Thomas LePage also drove in two runs in the contest.

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 497 wins in his 16th year.

Dolphin notables: The Dolphins are averaging nine runs per game and have scored at least 10 runs in four of the eight games this season. JU is also outscoring its opponents 34-6 in the first four innings, including a 15-2 advantage in the fourth inning. JU currently has 72 runs, 10 home runs and 134 total bases compared to 26 runs, no home runs and 71 total bases for its opponents.

Mighty Justin Young: Junior outfielder Justin Young was named Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Week after leading the Dolphins to a three-game sweep over South Florida last week. Young becomes the first Dolphin to receive A-Sun accolades this season and the first JU field player selected since Donald Brickle won the award on March 22, 2004. In game one of the series at Red McEwen Field, Young went 2-for-3 with a double and made several key plays in center field to give the Dolphins a 4-3 win. In game two, he led an offensive onslaught against preseason All-America honoree Casey Hudspeth by going 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI en route to an 11-6 victory. In the finale, Young had an RBI single and hurled 1.1 innings of relief to lead the Dolphins to an 8-4 win. For the week, he batted .556 (5-9) with a double, a home run, five RBI and a 1.000 slugging percentage. Young leads the Dolphins with a .478 batting average and a .571 on-base percentage, while also ranking second with seven hits and 10 RBI. He has also made two appearances on the mound to help support the Dolphin bullpen, as JU picked up its first series win over South Florida since 2001.

No, the other Tim Brown: Freshman RHP Tim Brown has proven to be a jack of all trades for the Dolphin pitching staff in the beginning of the season. In the past two games, Brown is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA a save, three hits allowed and a .157 opponents batting average in 5.2 innings of work. For the year, he has a 1.04 ERA, a .172 opponent batting average and five hits in 8.2 innings.

Big Mac: Junior outfielder Mike McCallister has been a pleasant addition to the Dolphin lineup after transferring from Alabama. A steady defender in right field, McCallister has made the biggest impact at the plate where he is scorching balls across the field. In his breakout performance in a Dolphin uniform, he went 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs and three RBI against Bethune-Cookman on Feb. 12. He has also driven in three runs in each of the Dolphins' last two games. He currently leads the squad with three home runs and a .750 slugging percentage.

Mystery Matt: Sophomore LHP Matt Dobbins is part of a strong starting rotation that has helped the Dolphins off to their hot start in 2006. Mainly a position player last season, Dobbins has made a smooth transition and is making opposing batters scratch their heads. After a no-decision against Georgia Southern on Feb. 7, he has gone 2-0 with a 0.64 and a .190 opponent batting average in his last two starts (Bethune-Cookman & South Florida). He currently leads all starters with 16 strikeouts, 20.1 innings and a .225 opponent batting average.

Turning LePage: 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 four doubles and 11 RBI. He also its tied for the team lead with four multi-RBI games, including a career-high three hits and four RBI in the season opener at Florida A&M.

Murphisms: 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 batting .357 with 10 hits, two home runs, nine RBI and a team-high 12 runs.

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