Pitchers and catchers may be reporting in Major League Baseball but the college level is ready to hit the ground running as the JU baseball team opens the 2011 season in Wilmington, N.C. this weekend.
The Dolphins will open with a three-game road set against UNC-Wilmington at Brooks Field beginning on Friday at 4 p.m. The series will continue on Saturday at 2 p.m. before concluding on Sunday at 2 p.m.
All three games in the series can be heard live while the series opener is available through video streaming by logging onto JUDolphins.com.
Murphy Moves to Second
An A-Sun all-freshman team selection in 2009, Jonathan Murphy had high expectations in 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 batted .327 (49-150) with seven doubles, a triple, five home runs, 30 RBI and 73 total bases.
During that period, he raised his batting average over 180 points to .282.
In 2011, Murphy will follow in the footsteps of his brother, Daniel (New York Mets), and make the transition to second base.
JU Selected Fourth in Preseason Poll
Despite reaching the conference tournament championship last season, JU was picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic Sun Conference according to the 2011 preseason coaches poll.
Regular-season champion FGCU (five first place votes) and tournament champion Mercer (four first place votes) each tied for first in the poll with 112 points, while ETSU rounded out the top three with 98 points (one first place vote) followed by JU with 91 points (one first place vote). Stetson (73), Belmont (61), UNF (56), Kennesaw State (46), Lipscomb (39), Campbell (25) and USC Upstate (13) made up the rest of the poll.
Mercer was selected to repeat as tournament champion.
Trio Named Preseason All-Conference
Senior pitcher Matthew Tomshaw along with sophomore outfielders Dan Gulbransen and Adam Brett Walker each represented the Dolphins on the A-Sun preseason all-conference team.
ETSU senior first baseman Paul Hoilman was a unanimous selection for preseason “Player of the Year” while FGCU senior starter Richie Erath was named preseason “Pitcher of the Year”.
Due to injuries in the starting rotation, Tomshaw emerged as the stopper for the Dolphins en route to second team all-conference accolades last season. He led the squad with an 8-2 record (6-0 in conference play) and three complete games in 92 innings of work. With his three complete games, he became the first Dolphin to tally more than two since Dennis Robinson (7) during the 2004 season.
Gulbransen led the squad with a .391 batting average, 79 hits, 53 runs, two triples, a .498 on-base percentage and 39 walks. He also ranked fourth with 46 RBI and eight home runs. For his efforts, he earned A-Sun “Freshman of the Year” and first team all-conference accolades before taking home Freshman All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball and Ping!Baseball.com.
Walker led JU with 16 home runs, 58 RBI, a .635 slugging percentage and 121 total bases while ranking fourth with a .313 batting average. At the end of the season, he earned second team all-conference accolades before joining Gulbransen with Freshman All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball and Ping!Baseball.com.
Kaminski Named to Watch List
JU had been in desperate need of a closer since Hunter Davis tallied 11 saves in 2005 but the Dolphins have enjoyed the services of Chris Kaminski over the last two years.
The Richmond, Texas native joined JU in 2009 after going 6-0 with a 3.86 ERA, four saves and 54 strikeouts as a freshman at Weatherford Junior College.
Kaminski lived up to the hype by leading the A-Sun with eight saves in nine opportunities in 2009 while topping the bullpen with 25 appearances, a 2.70 ERA, five wins and 33.1 innings, helping the squad to a 28-1 record when leading after eight innings. For his efforts, he earned A-Sun second team all-conference honors and was named to the 2010 preseason all-conference team.
Last season, despite serving three games as a starter, Kaminski pulled to within one save of Joe Ausanio (16, 1985-88) as the programs top closer.
He ended the 2010 campain with a team best 24 appearances, seven saves a .236 opponent batting average and a 2.38 ERA.
During the year, Kaminski was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) “Stopper of the Year” Watch List before ending the season with second team all-conference honors.
Kaminski is once again named to the NCBWA’s stopper watch list for the second straight season.
C.P. Cost Pavilion Opens in 2011
JU announced the latest in a series of important on-campus upgrades for its student-athletes with the initiation of its newest project, the C. Peter Cost Pavilion – a new state-of-the-art indoor hitting and pitching facility at John Sessions Stadium.
The 7,000 square-foot-project was being built on the site of the JU baseball outdoor batting cages and home bullpen down the left-field line. The Pavilion will feature eight hitting bays, two clay pitching mounds and two portable mounds (to incorporate the facility with the bullpen) as well as adjustable and movable netting to enable hosting of non-baseball functions (such as meetings and events). The entrance will showcase a welcome-walkway and pavilion area where commemorative bricks can be purchased and dedicated at the site.
Former Dolphin Tim Cost (Class of ‘81) fully funded the project and is a member of the JU Board of Trustees. Cost made an immediate impact in his first start as a freshman from Syracuse, N.Y. as he hurled the only nine-inning no-hitter in program history over the University of Akron on March 25, 1978. He would go on to notch the 10th best winning percentage in program history (.688).
The new CPC Pavilion is named in honor of C. Peter Cost (LeMoyne College, 1953), a long-time baseball player, coach, umpire and teacher.
JU Hires Brian Snyder
Brian Snyder, who spent six years in the Oakland A’s minor league system, was named the volunteer assistant coach at JU.
Snyder, who was a standout at Stetson in his collegiate career, will replace Mike McCallister on the staff after accepting a job as an assistant baseball coach at Terry Parker High School. His responsibilities with the Dolphins will include assisting with all aspects of the program while working specifically with the corner infielders and hitters.
A first-round choice by the A’s in 2003 (26th player taken overall), Snyder worked his way through the franchise’s farm system with the Vancouver Canadiens (Short-A, 2003), Kane County Cougars (Single-A, 2004), Midland Rockhounds/Stockton Ports (Double-A/High-A, 2006), Midland Rockhounds (Double-A, 2007 – Texas League All-Star) and Midland Rockhounds/San Antonio Missions (Double-A, 2008) before ending his baseball playing career to complete his degree at Stetson.
A three-year letterwinner as a third baseman at Stetson, Snyder was a freshman all-america selection by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America while also garnering second-team Atlantic Sun Conference honors.
As a sophomore, he was named all-region and first team all-conference before playing in the Cape Cod League in the summer. During that time, he was the eighth ranked prospect out of the Cape Cod League while also earning all-star team MVP honors. As a junior, he garnered All-America accolades from Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball and was named first team all-conference.
Daniel Murphy to Compete for 2B
Former JU baseball player Daniel Murphy, who is the ninth Dolphin to play in the majors, will look to put an injury plagued 2010 season behind him as he enters Spring Training.
He has spent the offseason working out at Jacksonville University and is preparing to play second base, which will be his third position change in three years.