April 10, 2007
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -
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After snapping an 18-game losing streak to the
Seminoles on March 21, the JU baseball team (21-
17) will look to end a 24-game losing skid at Dick
Howser Stadium as the Dolphins travel to No. 1
Florida State (31-4) on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The contest will be heard live on WZNZ,
ESPN 1460, with Barry Milligan calling all of the action
and Josh Ellis providing color commentary. The
Dolphin Pre-Game Show will air at 5:45 p.m.
Jolting the lineup
Junior center fielder Kevin Ferreira was
envisioned to leadoff the top of the Dolphin lineup,
create havoc on the base paths and be a ball hawk in
Although all three categories did not click
at the same time, Ferreira is now hitting on all
cylinders and even adding some extra pop at the plate
over the last five games.
In his last 17 games, he has raised his
average 50 points (.250-.300) after batting .353 (24-
68), including a season-high six-game hitting streak in
which he has gone 13-for-25 (.520). He also tied a
career high with three hits in three consecutive games
(March 31-April 6).
Once he gets on base, Ferreira has
developed his base stealing abilities by ranking
second on the squad with 11 bags. After being picked
off twice by Florida A&M in the season opener, he has
only been thrown out once.
In the field, he has committed only one
error and has run down several fly balls which would
have dropped in for base hits.
Justin case you missed it
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
3-2 with a 2.58 ERA, 30 strikeouts and a .235
opponent batting average in 45.1 innings.
He has also tallied two complete-game
victories (Kennesaw State & Campbell) during that
The Big Red Dog heats up, again
Senior left fielder Pete Clifford did not start
the 2007 season the way he planned but has bounced
back in a major way.
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.
On March 5, 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. He successfully raised his batting average
from .194 to .382 since Feb. 18.
On March 12, he earned consecutive A-
Sun POW honors after batting .381 (8-21) with two
doubles, two home runs, eight runs, nine RBI, 16 total
bases and a .762 slugging percentage to lead the
Dolphins to a 5-1 week.
He is the first A-Sun player to earn back-to-
back honors since former Dolphin Chad Hauseman
accomplished the feat in April of 2003.
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 more than 70 points to .357.
During that span, Clifford tallied a career-
high 18-game hitting streak (Feb. 18-March 17) in
which he batted .500 (32-64) with seven doubles, two
triples, three home runs, 21 RBI, 52 total bases,
a .813 slugging percentage and a .573 on-base
In another cold spell this year, Clifford saw
his average drop from .392-333 (2-23) from March 18-
He has found the stroke again in his last
five games by batting .474 (9-19) with a double, three
home runs and 13 RBI. During that time, he belted his
second grand slam of the season and tallied a career-
high five RBI against Campbell on April 6.
Turn out the lights
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 where he has flourished.
Since Davis' return, the fireballer has
recorded four saves in seven appearances, including
the final two outs to end the Dolphins' 18-game losing
streak to Florida State on March 21.
He notched his first win over the weekend
after hurling three innings of shutout relief in a 5-3 win
over Campbell on April 7.
Sophomore Tim Brown has had an up and
down season in 2007 and he even has been
mistaken for teammate Matt Davis on occasion.
What is true is the fact that Brown has
turned a corner as a pitcher and the Dolphins are
benefitting from the results.
After failing to hold a lead against No. 29
Auburn in which he allowed two runs on no hits with
two walks in 0.2 innings on Feb. 23, Brown's ERA
rose to 8.59 in four appearances. After four more
appearances, including a start against Florida, Brown
was more effective on the mound but things did not
bounce his way as his ERA sat at 7.23 and he was
charged with a loss against UNC-Greensboro on
In his last five appearances, Brown is 1-0
with a 0.79 ERA and a save in 11.1 innings of relief.
The biggest appearance being 4.1 shutout innings in
which he allowed only one hit and did not walk a batter
to earn the win against No. 1 Florida State on March
In 11 appearances since Auburn, Brown
has now lowered his ERA from 8.59 to 5.22.
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, he is proving he belongs on
the Division I stage and has done his part to help
replace the big bat of Gordie Gronkowski.
McArdle started things of with a bang by
opening the year with with an eight-game hitting
streak. During that span, he batted .394 with 13 hits,
three doubles, three home runs and 13 RBI.
He came down early with a 1-for-15 slump
which dropped his average to .292 on Feb. 25 but
bounced back with a career-high 4-for-5 performance
at Georgia Southern on Feb. 28.
In his last 20 games, McArdle has
recorded a hit in all but five games to bat .351 (27-77)
with four doubles, two home runs and 15 RBI. During
that span, he collected a career-high four RBI against
Bethune-Cookman on March 13.
His biggest hit came against his former
team as McArdle hit a two-run double to give the
Dolphins a 4-2 lead which led to a 5-3 win over No. 1
Florida State on March 21. The Seminoles had
defeated JU in 18 consecutive games prior to the
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
ranking 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.
Back to the hill
Junior starter Matt Gardner has gone full
circle 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 had been
relegated to strictly pitching duties with a spot in the
weekend rotation but things changed a little.
After making 10 appearances on the hill
with seven starts, Gardner made his first start at
shortstop on March 18 due to injuries to juniors Matt
Lopez (thumb) and Ben Kerr (quad).
Touted as the Dolphins' best fielder
entering the season, Gardner proved the statement to
be correct by making several game-saving stops in
Against Bethune-Cookman, he tallied his
first hits of the season by going 2-for-5 with a double
and two runs scored.
With the return of Lopez, Gardner was
back in the starting rotation on March 31 at Mercer. Not
only was there no rust, but he only managed to throw
the Dolphins' first shutout since Dennis Robinson in
Through nine innings, he scattered five
hits while walking two and striking out two batters. He
also snapped A-Sun Preseason "Player of the Year"
Josh Thompson's 19-game hitting streak.
Senior Thomas LePage raised his batting
average over 40 points (.244-.289) after batting 7-for-
12 against Campbell over the weekend. Included in
the fracus was a career-high 4-for-4 effort in Game
One on April 6.
The Dolphins earned their first A-Sun series win
of the season last weekend against Campbell.
Ironically, the Camels were the only team to defeat JU
in a conference series last season.
JU tallied its first A-Sun sweep since blanking
Lipscomb in May of 2006 in Nashville.
The Dolphins's win over No. 1 Florida State was
the JU's first victory over a ranked opponent since a 10-
9 decision at No. 18 UCF on March 28, 2005.
Junior outfielder Stewart Kelly (achilles) and
junior infielder Ben Kerr (quad) are out indefinitely.