Baseball ranked 38th in Collegiate Baseball preseason poll
The JU baseball team is gaining some national recognition after being ranked 38th the 2012 Collegiate Baseball preseason poll.

The Dolphins were ranked this season after receiving votes in the 2011 preseason poll. JU joins Stetson as the only two A-Sun schools in the poll. The Dolphins also were ranked two spots higher than their season-opening opponent, Southern California (40th). In all, the Dolphins play seven teams on this preseason poll (6 ranked, 1 receiving votes) in 2012.

“We appreciate the honor,” JU head coach Terry Alexander said. “We have a good core of players coming back this season so we hoped to appear on one of the lists. At the end of the day, we still have to lace up and play and that is what we are going to do.”

JU is set to bring majority of its 2011 squad back that posted a 37-24 mark and earned its fourth trip to the NCAA regionals in the last six seasons.

Leading the charge will be the Wisconsin duo of juniors Adam Brett Walker II and Dan Gulbransen.

Walker II led the A-Sun with a .409 batting average, 99 hits and 23 doubles in helping the Dolphins reach the NCAA regionals. He also paced the squad with 13 home runs, 75 RBI, 165 total bases and a .685 slugging percentage. His hits and total bases totals each broke single-season records for the program.

Walker II batted .446 with 16 doubles, six home runs and 42 RBI in conference play to take home the A-Sun “Player of the Year” and first team all-conference honors. He earned several All-America honors last season and was selected to the 2012 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association preseason first team All-America on Dec. 14.

Gulbransen was named first team all-conference honors in 2011 after ranking second in average (.370), doubles (18), triples (2), RBI (52) and slugging percentage (.546).

On the hill, the Dolphins can look forward to the veteran leadership of seniors Steve Eagerton and Sean Green. After battling nearly two season’s worth of injuries, they would each remerge to have a good year in 2011. Eagerton was one of three pitchers nationally to not lose in 2011 after posting a 9-0 record, while Green hurled a career-best seven innings at the A-Sun Tournament against Mercer.

Sophomore Chris Anderson also returns after posting 11 saves in 2011 en route to freshman All-America honors by Collegiate Baseball and National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA).

The Dolphins open the 2012 season in Los Angeles at Southern California for a three-game series starting Feb. 17.