After snapping its mid-week losing streak, the JU baseball team (15-10, 5-4) will dive back into conference road play against Belmont (12-13, 3-6) at Shelby Park beginning on Friday at 5 p.m. ET. JU leads BU in the all-time series, 18-14, including a sweep by the Dolphins (3-0) last season at John Sessions Stadium. JU has won the last four meetings between the two schools. The contests can be followed through live stats by logging on to JUDolphins.com. Be sure to check JUDolphins.com for other means to follow the games.
With a 4-2 win over Georgia Southern on March 29, JU recorded its first mid-week victory (1-5)...following a loss, the Dolphins are 8-2...JU has recorded two shutouts on the year, the most since 2008...the Dolphins are 14-5 during weekend play in 2011...JU is 5-1 on the year in doubleheaders...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 25 games, Ratliff is leading the squad in stolen bases (15) and also ranks second in hits (37), runs (29), doubles (6) and is third in batting average (.363). 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 25 games, Gulbransen is leading the squad with a .413 batting average, 38 hits, seven doubles a .509 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 25 games, he is batting .352 with four doubles, two triples, two home runs, 19 RBI and a .486 slugging percentage. He currently leads the squad with 31 runs scored and is second with 37 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 25 games, Walker leads the squad with six home runs, 33 RBI, 64 total bases and a .653 slugging percentage.