THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2008
Baseball opens 2008 season with JU Invitational this weekend

Feb. 21, 2008

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

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The JU baseball team will open the 2008 season by hosting the JU Invitational this weekend at John Sessions Stadium.

The tournament, which will feature six games in three days, will begin on Friday - UNC Wilmington vs. Richmond at 12 p.m. and JU vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 4 p.m.

The event will continue on Saturday - UNC Wilmington vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 12 p.m., and JU vs. Richmond at 4 p.m.

The tournament will end on Sunday - Richmond vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 11 a.m. and JU vs. UNC Wilmington at 3 p.m.

All Dolphin games can be followed on Gametracker on JUDolphins.com. JU's contest against UNC Wilmington on Sunday at 3 p.m. will be the first to be featured on ASun.TV.

Jacksonville Dolphins
Host Jacksonville is under the direction of 18-year head coach Terry Alexander, who has led the Dolphins to eight of their 12 NCAA Regional appearances.

Alexander, who played collegiately at Florida State, was an associate head coach with the program from 1988-90 after his stint as an assistant from 1980-87.

JU, which earned back-to-back A-Sun titles and consecutive regional bids for the first time since 1994-95, was selected third in the Atlantic Sun Conference Coaches Poll.

Senior pitcher Matt Dobbins (who earned All-America honors in 2006) and sophomore third baseman Chuck Opachich were each named to the preseason all-conference team.

Richmond Spiders
The Spiders are under the direction of first year head coach Mark McQueen, who was recently in his second stint as an assistant coach with the program in 2007.

McQueen, who played collegiately at Sam Houston State, served as an assistant coach at VCU  (2001-06), Richmond (1989-00) and Iowa State (1987- 88).

Richmond, which has earned eight NCAA Regional bids (most recently, 2003) and one Super Regional (2002), finished 32-28 last season and placed third in the Atlantic 10 with an 18-9 mark.

The Spiders are led by senior catcher Hank  Coogan and senior pitchers Alex Hale and Brian Alas.

UNC Wilmington Seahawks
The Seahawks are led by 17-year head coach Mark Scalf, who was led the program to 40 wins in four of the last five seasons.

Scalf, who played collegiately at UNCW, served as an assistant with the Seahawks  (1984-92) and North Carolina (1981-83).

UNCW, which has earned three NCAA Regional bids (most recently, 2006), finished 29-27 last season but are picked to finish third in the Colonial Athletic Association Coaches Poll.

The Seahawks are led by senior catcher/outfielder Mark Carver, senior pitcher Jeff Hatcher and junior pitcher Brad Holt.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers
The Panthers are under the guidance of second year head coach Scott Doffek, who led the program to a 25-32 mark last season.

Belsche, who served as an assistant coach with the Panthers for 12 seasons prior to his promotion, spent five years in the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league system (1989-93) after playing Waukesha County Community College.

The Panthers, which have reached three NCAA Regionals (most recently, 2002), will be led by senior second baseman Jesse Hart, senior outfielder Nick Wichser and junior third baseman Josh Groves.