Currently second in the A-Sun standings, the JU baseball team (24-15, 14-7) will travel to FGCU (21-20, 10-8) for a three-game set at Swanson Stadium.
The series will begin on Friday at 6:30 p.m. with Game Two set for Saturday at 4 p.m. The series will conclude on Sunday at p.m.
JU trails FGCU in the all-time series, 6-3, including a season sweep by the Eagles (3-0) last season at John Sessions Stadium.
JU is receiving votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBW) Top-30 Poll for the third straight week.
The contests can be followed through live stats by logging on to JUDolphins.com. Be sure to check out other available outlets on game day.
Against Stetson, JU won its first game against a ranked opponent in 2011 (1-5)...in the series finale, the contest ran two hours and 48 minutes, ending a six game streak of three hour contests for the Dolphins...with the sweep over Campbell, JU swept back-to-back conference weekends for the first time since 2008 (Gardner-Webb & Belmont)...JU recorded its only mid-week victory (1-7) with a 4-2 win over Georgia Southern (3/29)...following a loss, the Dolphins are 11-3...JU has recorded two shutouts on the year, the most since 2008...the Dolphins are 23-8 in weekend play and 9-2 in doubleheaders on the year...against Samford, JU earned its first season sweep over an opponent in a series longer that three games since B-CU (5-0) in 2004...the Dolphins are 2-8 in their last 10 games against ranked opponents.
JU & A-Sun In The National Rankings
The following graphs depict where the Dolphins rank along with other members of the A-Sun in various categories...
RPI (Top 50): NCAA: Stetson (21), JU (45)...Boyds’ World: Stetson (23), JU (46).
TEAM (Top 10): avg: JU (5, .323)...hits: Mercer (3, 479), JU (8, 453)...runs: Mercer (3, 356), JU (9, 316)...scoring: Mercer (5, 8.3 rpg), JU (6, 8.1 rpg)...doubles: KSU (4, 102), FGCU (98)...hr: Mercer (1, 65), ETSU (3, 56), UNF (6, 46)...slg: Mercer (2, .509), ETSU (5, .494), UNF (10, .471)...bb: KSU (9, 211)...hbp: Campbell (1, 113).
Health Starting To Improve For Dolphins
Injuries are a part of baseball and every team goes through them as the season progresses.
In mid-April, the Dolphins’ fortunes were dealt a big blow with four starters affected. But, recently, some of those players are making their way back into the lineup.
Junior shortstop Jimmy Howick, who had started 28 games, was limited in the field due to an elbow injury (4/6). He was used as a DH and pinch hitter until returning to the lineup at short against Campbell (4/16).
Freshman third baseman Taylor Ratliff, who served as the lead-off hitter, has been limited in the field and at the plate with a right shoulder injury (4/5). He made his way back into the starting lineup at third base in the doubleheader against No. 18 Stetson (4/23).
Junior pitcher Steve Eagerton, who led the A-Sun with a 6-0 record, missed two starts due to a concussion from a come-backer on April 8. He is scheduled to make his next start against FGCU.
Senior pitcher Chris Kaminski, the program’s closer the last three years and starter in 2011, is still out indefinitely with a shoulder injury (4/1).
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” in 2011.
Through 39 games, Gulbransen is leading the squad with a .416 batting average, 48 runs, 35 walks and a .524 on-base percentage while ranking second in hits (62), slugging percentage (.624), total bases (93) and stolen bases (9).
Gulbransen, who is the midst of a career-high 22 game hitting streak, currently leads the Atlantic Sun Conference in batting average and on-base percentage while also ranking second in walks.
In the national rankings, he is eighth in runs per game (1.23 rpg), ninth in runs (48), ninth in on-base percentage (.524), 16th in batting average (.416) and tied for 17th in walks (35).
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 39 games, Walker leads the squad with nine home runs, 64 hits, 16 doubles, 54 RBI, 111 total bases, and a .703 slugging percentage.
Walker currently leads the A-Sun in slugging percentage while also ranking second in batting average (.405) and doubles and third in RBI, on-base percentage (.486) and total bases.
In the national rankings, he is fifth in RBI per game (1.38 pg), eighth in RBI (54) and total bases (111), 10th in runs (47), 12th in runs per game (1.21 rpg), 16th in hits (64), 17th in slugging percentage (.703),
He is already making his way into the career record books, tying Rick Scheetz (25, 1978-81) for 10th on the all-time home run list. Walker needs 17 RBI and 105 total bases to crack the top 10 all time, respectively.
Junior Jonathan Murphy has been another catalyst for the Dolphins at the top of the order in 2011. Due to his ability to get on base, he is showing up on the national scene in runs scored.
Through 39 games, he is fourth on the squad with a .335 batting average and is second with nine stolen bases. He currently leads the squad with three triples and ranks third with 46 runs, 59 hits and seven doubles.
In the national rankings, he is 11 in runs (46) and 17th in runs per game (1.18 rpg).
He also became the first Dolphins to tally five hits (5-for-6 at Belmont - 4/2) since Chuck Opachich accomplished the feat against Stetson on April 20, 2007.
JU Inks Top JC Pitcher
The JU baseball team made another big move in the recruiting movement by inking top junior college pitcher Wes Torrez to a National Letter of Intent during the spring signing period.
Torrez, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound sophomore at Johnson Community College in Overland Park, Mo., is currently 5-4 with a 3.22 ERA in 11 starts while also logging two complete games and 40 strikeouts in 63 innings after transferring from High Point University.
He is the son of former major league pitcher, Mike Torrez, who pitched 17 major leagues seasons (1967-84) and was a member of the New York Yankees’ 1977 World Series squad.
JU is not new to Major League offspring appearing on its roster as the Dolphins have featured Anthony Bernazard (Tony Bernazard - 10 MLB seasons) and Glen Johnson (Howard “Hojo” Johnson - 14 MLB seasons) in the last five years.