TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2011
Baseball plays at No. 20 College of Charleston on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
After ending its season-long 13-game homestand, the JU baseball team (11-5) will embark on a five-game road trip beginning with No. 20 College of Charleston at Patriots Point Field on Wednesday at 5 p.m. JU trails CofC in the all-time series, 5-3, including a 9-5 loss to the Cougars on March 1 at John Sessions Stadium. The Dolphins’ last win in the series was a 5-2 contest at John Sessions Stadium on March 17, 1992. The Cougars are ranked in all four major polls entering the contest: 20 (Baseball America), 21 (NCBWA), 23 (USA Today/ESPN), 28 (Collegiate Baseball). The contests can be viewed through live stats by logging onto JUDolphins.com. Be sure to check for other available outlets on game day.
Murphy’s Law 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 16 games, he is batting .348 (23-66) with two doubles, two triples, two home runs, 13 RBI and a .530 slugging percentage. He currently leads the squad with 21 runs scored and 23 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 16 games, Gulbransen is batting .364 (20-55) with four doubles and a team-best .493 on-base percentage. and 16 walks.
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 16 games, Walker leads the squad with a .377 batting average, five doubles, three home runs, 39 total bases and a .639 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 2.53 ERA and eight strikeouts in 10.2 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. Since then, he has won three-straight decisions over Samford, Wagner and USC Upstate. He currently leads all starters with a 3-0 record, a 1.33 ERA and 27 innings pitched.
Hammerin Howick 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 22 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 13 of 16 games for the Dolphins and his bat has been one of the focal points in the lineup. Thus far, he is batting .320 (16-50) and leads the squad with three home runs.
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 for the New York Mets. 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. The latest report out of Fort Myers from ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin: Multiple Mets personnel said no decision has been resolved on second base, and the speculation continues to be Brad Emaus or Luis Castillo will emerge as the second baseman, with Daniel Murphy also on the roster. As I've mentioned, I continue to hear Collins would prefer not to have Castillo on the roster.