MONDAY, MARCH 05, 2007
Baseball travels to Florida on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

March 5, 2007

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

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After snapping a four-game slide by winning back-to- back games, the JU baseball team (7-10) will return to the road for a single game against 2005 national runner-up Florida (9-6) at McKeathan Stadium.
The contest will be heard live on WZNZ, ESPN-1460, to kick off the 2007 radio broadcast season. Barry Milligan will call all of the action and Joel Lamp will provide color analysis. The Dolphin Pre- Game Show will air at 6 p.m.

Clifford named A-Sun POW
Senior left fielder Pete Clifford did not start the 2007 season the way he planned after tearing the cover off the ball during the summer.
A preseason all-conference selection, Clifford had managed only a .194 batting average (7- for-36) and five RBI in his first nine games this season.
But after an impressive weekend in Mobile, Clifford finally found his rhythm again and his past proves that more good things are in store. In three games at the Coca-Cola Classic, he batted .500 (6-12) with a double, a home run and four RBI.
Last week, he batted .650 (13-20), with three doubles, a triple, eight runs, four RBI, 18 total bases, a .900 slugging percentage and a .696 on- base percentage to earn A-Sun "Player of the Week" honors. With his recent streak, he has successfully raised his batting average from .194 to .382 since Feb. 18 and has a nine-game hitting streak.
February blues are not uncommon for Clifford after hitting only .185 through seven games as a junior in 2006. The trend didn't stick very long as he rebounded with a 14-game hitting streak to raise his average over 70 points to .357.
Clifford leads the squad with a .382 batting average, 26 hits, 15 runs, seven doubles, a triple, 41 total bases, a .603 slugging percentage, a .475 on- base average and five stolen bases. In the A-Sun, he leads the conference in hits, is second in total bases and tied for second in doubles.

Dolphin Notables
Junior shortstop Matt Lopez has returned to the lineup after sitting out five games due to being hit in the elbow with a pitch. Senior first baseman Thomas LePage snapped out of a 4-for-30 slump to start the season by going 5-for-10 in his last three games. The Dolphins have won back-to-back games for the first time since early February. Senior Justin Young has made the move into the starting rotation, despite starting the season as the squad's closer. The Dolphins are 1-5 in games decided by two runs or less, including three games in which JU held the lead.

Picking up where he left off
Senior right fielder Mike McCallister was a nice addition to the Dolphin lineup in 2006 after spending the first two years of his career at Alabama. Since he returned home, he is proving to be an integral part of the lineup again in 2007.
Through 17 games, McCallister is second with 25 hits, 14 RBI and five doubles and third with a .356 batting average.
Last season, McCallister led the Dolphins with 10 home runs and was second on the squad with 54 RBI and a .541 slugging percentage.

Tough love
Junior starter Matt Gardner has been exposed to some early frustration during his first year with the Dolphins. A transfer from Chabot College, Gardner spent one season at Fresno State under current Dolphin pitching coach Tim Montez before reconnecting with his former mentor in 2007.
A pitcher and infielder, Gardner has been relegated to strictly pitching duties and has solidified a spot in the weekend rotation with his early success.
Success, unfortunately, has not translated into the win column as Gardner (1-2) has suffered two losses and three no-decisions despite allowing only 11 earned runs in 30.1 innings and handing opponents a .219 batting average.
The hardest to swallow was a seven- inning gem in which he allowed only two runs on six hits to USF on Feb. 18. Gardner left with a 5-2 lead only to see the Bulls rally for four runs in the bottom of the eighth en route to a 6-5 win.
In his first collegiate start on Feb. 3, he was tagged with a no-decision against Bethune- Cookman after allowing no runs on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts in five innings of work.
Gardner earned his latest N/D after allowing four runs on six hits with two walks and a career-high eight strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work against No. 29 Auburn on Feb. 23.

All he wanted was a chance
Senior first baseman Ryan McArdle thought he had it made in 2006 when he completed two successful years at Tallahassee Community College and transferred to Florida State.
Once he joined the Seminoles, the hard part was trying to get playing time to prove himself. Despite starting only 12 games, McArdle finished with a .279 batting average with 17 hits, two home runs and eight RBI.
After transferring to the open arms of the JU coaching staff in 2007, McArdle is proving he belongs on the Division I stage.
In 17 games, he leads the Dolphins with three home runs and 20 RBI. He also ranks fourth on the squad with a .313 average, third in runs (11), hits (21) and doubles (four) and is second in total bases (34).