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
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.
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
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
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
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.