Baseball opens two-game series against #18 Florida tonight at 6:30 p.m.

March 25, 2008


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Click here to see video of the contest on Gator Vision

After a rough week, the JU baseball team (13-7) will jump back into the non-conference portion of its schedule as the Dolphins begin a home-and-home series against No. 18 Florida (17-4) in Gainesville.

The series will begin at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., before moving to John Sessions Stadium on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Both contests will be heard live on 1010XL with Barry Milligan calling all of the action. Tuesday's contest can be seen live via video streaming as well on http://www.gatorvision.tv/. Wednesday's contest can be seen live via video streaming with ASun.TV on JUDolphins.com.

Both games can also be followed through GameTracker on JUDolphins.com.

#18 Florida Gators
UF is under the direction of first-year head coach Kevin O'Sullivan after spending the last nine seasons as a pitching coach for Clemson.

The Gators are led offensively by junior outfielder/infielder Avery Barnes with a .400 batting average (28-70) and 11 stolen bases. Freshman infielder/outfielder Josh Adams is second with a .375 (27-72) batting average but leads the squad with five home runs and a .681 slugging percentage.

Sophomore infielder Cole Figueroa is third with a .359 (28-78) average but has a team-high 27 RBI.

Senior Josh Edmondson (2-0, 1.33 ERA, 1.64 OPP BA) and sophomore Tony Davis (0.00 ERA, .176 OPP BA) are the one-two punch out of the bullpen by tying for the team lead with 10 appearances each. Sophomore Kyle Mullaney leads the Gators with three saves on the year.

UF is ranked in all four major polls but is receiving its highest ranking (18) from the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll.

A week to forget
After enjoying a tremendous start to the 2008 season (13-4, 7-2), the Dolphins went through a rough stretch last week that was one for the ages.

In four games, which led to an 0-4 record, JU endured its first series loss to East Tennessee State, suffered its first A-Sun sweep since 2005 (at Gardner-Webb) and it's first A-Sun home sweep since UCF in 2004.

As a team, JU batted .241 (32-133) for the week and batted .209 (14-67) with runners on base and .191 (9-47) with runners in scoring position.

The pitching staff didn't fare any better after recording a 7.71 team ERA, allowing an opponent to score 20 runs (21 by ETSU on March 20) for the first time since a 20-4 home loss against Texas Pan- American in 1997 and blew its first lead after eight innings this season (March 21).

Defensively, the Dolphins committed eight errors for the week which led to 13 unearned runs.

Junior closer Billy Schlee also earned the first blemish on his record by blowing his first save opportunity in six chances this season.

Some silver linings
Despite a rough week, there were some bright spots for the Dolphins.

Sophomore second baseman Chuck Opachich seems to have shaken off his sluggish start to 2008 by leading the squad with a .385 (5-13) batting average last week to raise his overall batting average from .224 to .258.

Senior center fielder Kevin Ferreira continues to swing a hot bat by registering a .357 (5- 14) batting average last week while extending his career high hitting streak to 14 games.

Sophomore Carson Andrew also enjoyed one of the best starts in his collegiate career by scattering three hits in seven shutout innings before earning a no-decision on March 21.

Setting the table
Senior center fielder Kevin Ferreira and junior left fielder Kyle Fleming have made the Dolphin offense go in 2008.

Batting 1-2 in the top of the order all season, the duo has combined for 58 hits, 49 runs, six doubles, a triple, a home run, 29 RBI, 69 total bases, seven sacrifice bunts and 23 stolen bases.

Ferreira, the lead-off batter, is sixth in the A- Sun with a .386 batting average while leading the conference with 29 runs and is second with 15 stolen bases. He has also sparked JU's 13-game first inning scoring streak to open the 2008 season when he reached base in 17-of-23 opportunities(.739) to lead off an inning.

Fleming, the two hitter, is fourth in the A- Sun with a .413 batting average while also leading the conference with a .541 on-base percentage and 20 walks. He is also the best at advancing runners by succeeding in 37-of-53 opportunities for a team- leading 69.8 percent success rate.

Junior college influence
In a move not normally used at JU under the direction of head coach Terry Alexander, the Dolphins brought in four junior college transfers in order to counter balance the infusion of youth on the roster.

Early in the 2008 season, each player has made a major impact on the squad and have the Dolphins clicking in every aspect of the game.

Left fielder Kyle Fleming (South Georgia  College) is fourth in the A-Sun with a .413 batting average while also leading the conference with a .541 on-base percentage and 20 walks.

Catcher Jeremy Gillan (Indian River CC) leads the squad with 19 RBI and is second with 27 hits, four doubles and 37 total bases. He has also gunned down five of 12 base runners on the year.

Closer Billy Schlee (Kellogg CC) leads the A-Sun with five saves on the year.

Right fielder Thomas Myers (Kansas City CC) leads the squad with four home runs.