THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2007
Baseball travels to Mercer this weekend

March 29, 2007

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

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After dropping its second straight Atlantic Sun Conference series, the JU baseball team (17-15, 2-4) will look to get back into the hunt this weekend as the Dolphins travel to Mercer (18-11, 4-2).
Game one of the series will be on Friday at 6 p.m. before the conclusion of the series with a doubleheader on Saturday at 12 p.m.
The final two contests will be heard live on WZNZ, ESPN 1460, with Joel Lamp calling all of the action and Josh Ellis providing color commentary. The Dolphin Pre-Game Show will air 15 minutes prior to first pitch.

Young at heart
Senior starter Justin Young may be in his last season at JU but he is solidifying his career after college with his sudden transition from everyday center fielder to the ace of the staff.
After taking the hill for the first time last season, he finished the year a solid 2-2 mark and a 1.66 ERA with three saves, 26 strikeouts and a .199 opponents batting average.
In 2007, Young started the season as the closer due to the absence of Matt Davis. In six appearances, he finished with a 1-1 record and a 7.88 ERA with two saves, eight strikeouts and a .303 opponent batting average in eight innings.
Since moving to the starting rotation, where he is more comfortable in his preparation, he is 2-2 with a 2.43 ERA, 21 strikeouts and a .217 opponent batting average in 33.1 innings.

Closing time Junior closer Matt Davis missed the first 23 games of the year after having elbow surgery in the offseason and his presence was missed.
Since taking over the role last season, Davis notched six saves including four in the final month of the season. His biggest was against Sacred Heart to seal JU's lone win in the 2006 NCAA Regionals.
In his absence in 2007, the bullpen has gone by committee and got some good results from senior Justin Young (two saves), sophomore Josh Burrows (one save) and freshman Glenn Witkowski (one save). As a whole, the Dolphins went 3-for-6 in save opportunities and allowed the most runs during the year (21) in the ninth inning.
With the return of Davis, Young has moved back into the starting rotation, Burrows is now the jack- of-all trades out of the bullpen and Witkowski will become the set-up man.
Since his return, the fireballer has recorded four saves in six appearances, including the final two outs to end the Dolphins' 18-game losing streak to Florida State on March 21.
In his first appearance of the year, Davis notched his first save after closing the ninth inning in an 8-7 win over Bethune-Cookman on March 13. He earned his second save in as many opportunities by hurling 1.2 innings of relief at Belmont on March 16.
On March 20, he got number three after hurling two innings of shutout relief. The next night he helped JU hold onto a 5-3 win over the No. 1 Seminoles.

A memorable night
Several things occurred with JU's 5-3 win over No. 1 Florida State on March 21.
The Dolphins ended Florida State's 23- game winning streak, which was the second longest in program history. JU snapped an 18-game losing streak to the Seminoles, dating back to it's last win (13-4) on Feb. 23, 2002. The attendance for the game (3,109) set a new program record at Alexander Brest Field, surpassing the previous record of 2,954 on April 19, 1995.
The win also marked the first A-Sun team to defeat a No. 1 ranked team in four opportunities this season. In previous matchups, Lipscomb lost to No. 1 Vanderbilt 16-7, Belmont lost to No. 1 Vanderbilt 15-7 and Gardner-Webb lost to No. 1 North Carolina 4-2.
North Florida played Florida state on Feb. 27 when the Seminoles were ranked second in the nation. The Ospreys were defeated 16-2.
In random JU trivia, the Dolphins' win was the second largest streak snapped at the expense of the Seminoles. The Dolphins defeated FSU as a No. 1 seed for the first time in 1991. In that 7-4 victory at Dick Howser Stadium, JU snapped FSU's 37-game home winning streak in Terry Alexander's first season as head coach with the Dolphins.
The other odd thing to consider is the fact that JU pitching coach Tim Montez is now 8-0 in games against opponents which are ranked No. 1 in the nation. Montez had previously had coaching stints at Fresno State, Arkansas, Cal State Northridge, UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine.
The win also gave the Dolphins a victory over Florida and Florida State, in the same year, for the first time since 2002.