After dropping its first conference series in 2011, the JU baseball team (14-10) will end its four-game homestand against Georgia Southern (15-10) on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at John Sessions Stadium.
JU trails GS in the all-time series, 64-57, including a season sweep (2-0) by the Eagles last season. The last Dolphin victory was an 8-7 decision on March 10, 2009 at John Sessions Stadium.
The Eagles are currently receiving votes in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll.
The contests will be broadcast live on 1010XL with Joel Lamp calling all of the action. The game can also be viewed through ASun.TV and live stats by logging on to JUDolphins.com.
JU has recorded two shutouts on the year, the most since 2008...the Dolphins are 14-5 during weekend play in 2011...JU is also 5-1 on the year in doubleheaders...the Dolphins are 0-5 when playing during the week...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, including a 0-3 mark in 2011.
The Table Setter
Freshman Taylor Ratliff was a highly touted recruit out of Taylor County High School and thus far in 2011 he has been more than advertised.
After turning down offers to Florida State and Florida, Ratliff joined the Dolphins as a shortstop but has made the transition to third base and serves as the leadoff hitter..
Through 24 games, Ratliff is leading the squad in several offensive categories, including batting average hits (36) and stolen bases (15). He is also second in runs (29), doubles (6) and is third in batting average (.367).
To highlight his presence at the top of the JU lineup, the Dolphins’ only shutout on the year (a 7-0 loss to Evansville) occurred when Ratliff missed the contest due to illness.
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 24 games, Gulbransen is leading the squad with a .409 batting average, 36 hits, seven doubles a .500 on-base percentage and 21 walks.
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 24 games, he is batting .356 with three doubles, two triples, two home runs, 19 RBI and a .485 slugging percentage. He currently leads the squad with 30 runs scored and 36 hits.
Defensively, he is leading all outfielders with five assists.
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 24 games, Walker leads the squad with five home runs, 36 hits, 31 RBI, 60 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 2.03 ERA and eight strikeouts in 13.1 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 five-straight decisions over Samford, Wagner, USC Upstate, ETSU and Lipscomb. He currently leads all starters with a 4-0 record, a 3.12 ERA and 40.1 innings pitched.