After sweeping its second straight weekend series, the Dolphins (9-3) will continue its 13-game homestand at John Sessions Stadium by hosting a two-game set against Evansville (4-5) beginning on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
JU will be playing UE for the first time in program history. Overall, the Dolphins are 6-1 against the Missouri Valley Conference: Bradley (1-0), Illinois State (1-0), Indiana State (1-1) and Southern Illinois (3-0).
The Tuesday’s contest can be viewed on ASun.TV and live stats by logging onto JUDolphins.com. Wednesday will only be available through livestats due to a lacrosse doubleheader at D.B. Milne Field.
JU’s 7-1 home record is the best start at John Sessions Stadium since opening 9-0 in 2008...JU has recorded two shutouts on the year, the most since 2008...with a sweep over Wagner, the Dolphins have gone 9-1 during weekend play in 2011...JU is also 4-0 on the year in doubleheaders...against Samford, JU earned its first season sweep over an opponent in a series longer that three games since Bethune-Cookman (5-0) in 2004...the Dolphins are 2-8 in their last 10 games against ranked opponents - including a 0-2 mark in 2011.
With 13 true freshmen on the 2011 roster, JU has gone through a face lift during the offseason. Thus far, many of these freshman have contributed to the Dolphins’ hot start:
Chris Anderson: Team’s closer...in six appearances, he is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA and two saves...has a .174 opponent batting average in 6.2 innings.
Will Flor: Lefty specialist out of the pen...has not allowed an earned run in 4.2 innings...in four appearances, he has a .150 opponent batting average.
Zac Houck: Lefty reliever...in five appearances, he is 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA and a .222 opponent average.
Adam Maxon: Middle reliever out of pen...in six appearances, he is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA and a .237 opponent average.
Tony Mollica: Part of starting rotation...in three starts, he is 2-0 with 3.31 ERA and .145 opponent batting average in 16.1 innings...team-high 15 strikeouts.
Colin Monagle: Splitting time at 2B with fellow freshman Chris Moye...started five games...batting .308 (4-13) with a double and an RBI.
Chris Moye: Splitting time at 2B with fellow freshman Colin Monagle...started six games...batting .227 with a triple and four RBI.
Taylor Ratliff: Has started every game at third base...team lead-off hitter...batting .318 with three doubles, six RBI and team-high’s in stolen bases (8) and walks (10).
Junior Jonathan Murphy prepared to make the move to second base when the 2011 season started but the experiment lasted one game.
After that, Murphy is back in his comfort zone in left field and is flourishing in the field and at the plate.
Through 12 games, he is batting .380 (19-50) with two doubles, two triples, a home run, 11 RBI and a .560 slugging percentage. He currently leads the squad with 17 runs scored and 19 hits.
Defensively, he is leading all outfielders with four assists.
Pickin Up Where He Left Off
Sophomore center fielder Dan Gulbransen enjoyed a tremendous freshman campaign, flirting with a .400 batting average and ended with several accolades.
After being named to the A-Sun All-Preseason Team, Gulbransen has not suffered a “sophomore slump” thus far in 2011.
Through 12 games, Gulbransen leads the team with a .419 batting average, four doubles and a .519 on-base percentage.
Walker, Wisconsin Bomber
Sophomore right fielder/first baseman Adam Brett Walker enjoyed a tremendous freshman campaign, leading the team with 16 home runs, 58 RBI and a .635 slugging percentage and ended with several accolades.
After being named to the A-Sun All-Preseason Team, Walker has not skipped a beat.
Through 12 games, Walker leads the squad with four doubles, two home runs, 30 total bases and a .638 slugging percentage.
Two Familiar Faces Stabilizing Staff
It has been a long two years for junior pitchers Steve Eagerton and Sean Green.
In those two years, the duo has missed a combined 180 games due to injuries and surgery (Eagerton - elbow, Green - shoulder) but 2011 has been a different story.
Green, who’s last appearance was at USF on March 10, 2010, got his first win since 2009 when he hurled two innings of shutout relief at UNC-Wilmington on Feb. 19. He followed that up by hurling 1.2 innings of scoreless relief at No. 8 Florida State on Feb. 22. Thus far in 2011, Green in 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA and seven strikeouts in 9.2 innings.
Eagerton, who last appeared at FIU on March 23, 2010, got a no-decision in his first start by logging six innings and allowing only one run at UNCW on Feb. 20. In his next start, he earned his first win since 2008 by hurling seven shutout innings against Samford (2/26). He won his second straight decision on March 5 by allowing only one run in seven innings of work. He currently leads all starters with a 2-0 record, a 0.90 ERA and 20 innings pitched.
Junior shortstop Jimmy Howick was a major reason for JU's series win at UNC-Wilmington during the 2011 opening weekend.
Despite a position change from third base to shortstop, Howick certainly seems comfortable at the plate, batting 7-for-12 with two home runs, four RBI, 13 total bases, a 1.083 slugging percentage and a .538 on-base percentage in the opening series at UNC-Wilmington.
Howick enjoyed a career game in the series sweep over Wagner by finishing 3-for-5 with a double, a triple and a career-high six RBI in a 20-4 win on March 4.
He currently leads the squad with two home runs and 15 RBI.
Healthy Lehane Is Good News For JU
Junior first baseman Kevin Lehane had a rollercoaster season in 2010 that ended with him missing 41 games with a hamstring injury.
Prior to the bad hammy, Lehane was one of the hotter bats in the JU lineup with a .350 average in 40 at-bats.
Now at full strength, Lehane has started nine of 12 games for the Dolphins and his bat has been one of the focal points in the lineup.
Thus far, he is batting .343 (14-42) and leads the squad with two home runs.