With last night’s loss at UCF, the Dolphins have dropped two consecutive games with a ninth-inning lead and fell to 0-3 on the year in extra inning games...in the extra-inning loss to FSU, JU tallied 10 runs for the second straight game at Dick Howser Stadium for the first time in program history. The highest run tally in program history was 12 in 1973...with a 4-0 win over FIU, the Dolphins earned their first shutout since a 3-0 decision over Belmont on March 9, 2008 at John Sessions Stadium...the Dolphins are 15-1 on the year when scoring 10 or more runs...JU has a pair of four-game winning streaks on the year....the Dolphins are 4-14 when not hitting a home runs as opposed to an 18-8 record with a home run...the Dolphins are 3-7 in their last 10 games against ranked opponents - including a 2-3 mark in 2010.
Who is “Freshman of the Year”?
Thus far in 2010, the Wisconsin freshman duo of Dan Gulbransen and Adam Brett Walker are making Dolphin fans contemplate Cheesehead gear despite the Jacksonville Jaguars living across the St. John’s River. The initial thought process for the JU coaching staff was to bring the duo along slowly to get them used to the college game. Instead of battling for playing time, the duo is battling for the title of Atlantic Sun Conference “Freshman of the Year.” Gulbransen, a 5-foot-10, 205 pound, center fielder from Appleton, currently leads the squad with a .400 batting average, 62 hits, 44 runs, a .515 on-base percentage and 36 walks. He also ranks second with 44 RBI and eight home runs. A four-year starter at Fox Valley Lutheran HS, Gulbransen finished his prep career with 126 hits and 26 home runs. A four-time all-conference selection, he was named first team all-state and all-area while garnering Eastern Valley Conference “Player of the Year” honors. Walker, a 6-foot-5, 225 pound, OF/DH from Milwaukee, leads JU with 13 home runs, 46 RBI, 103 total bases and a.665 slugging percentage while ranking fourth with a .335 batting average. A three-year starter at Milwaukee Lutheran HS, Walker was named all-state, all-area and all-conference as a junior and senior. He played in the Brewer Classic at MIller Park and was an invitee to the 2009 Powerhouse Showcase Home Run Derby at Tropicana Field.
Sophomore third baseman Jimmy Howick has dazzled with his glove in the “hot corner” all season but his bat has done the talking lately. Entering the May 8 doubleheader against Kennesaw State, Howick was batting .230 (29-126) with five doubles, two triples, 12 RBI and 38 total bases. In the first game of the double-dip, Howick had a career day by going 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs and four RBI. He followed that effort by finishing 2-for-3 with a double. In just two days, the third baseman raised his average over 30 points to .256.
Murphy breaks out
An A-Sun all-freshman team selection last season, sophomore outfielder Jonathan Murphy had high expectations n 2010 but it took a while to get started. After starting the year on in 0-for-13 slump, Murphy saw himself playing sparingly and was hitting a paltry .103 (4-39) with only one extra-base hit (triple) on March 23. The coaching staff decided to make a change and keep him in the lineup to work his way out of it and the move has proved beneficial for both parties. Since being inserted into the lineup on a regular basis on March 23, Murphy is hitting .375 (39-104) with seven doubles, a triple, four home runs, 23 RBI and a .577 slugging percentage. During that period, he has raised his batting average 200 points to .303.
Senior Chuck Opachich is in his final year in a Dolphin uniform and is primed to etch his name in the JU history book. A major cog in the program’s most successful run in the last four years, Opachich has garnered several honors including A-Sun all-freshman (2007), A-Sun preseason all-conference (2008, 2010), A-Sun all-tournament (2007, 2009) and A-Sun first team all-conference (2009) accolades. Last season, Opachich set a milestone by tying Talmadge Nunnari (1997) with a program record 27-game hitting streak. In the JU single-season record book, he also tied Nunnari (1997) with 90 hits. After getting off to a hot start, he has been hampered by a hamstring injury which caused him to miss five games (3/10-17). Currently fifth in the career book, he is currently 65 hits behind Ernie Carr (1985-88) for the program record. He is 18 hits shy of surpassing Chris Hayes (1992-95) for fourth on the all-time list.