TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2007
Baseball travels to No. 1 Florida State tonight at 6 p.m.

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 the outfield.
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 span.

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 percentage.
In another cold spell this year, Clifford saw his average drop from .392-333 (2-23) from March 18- 28.
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 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 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.

Twin killing
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 March 10.
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 21.
In 11 appearances since Auburn, Brown has now lowered his ERA from 8.59 to 5.22.

King Kong
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 contest.

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 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 five games.
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 2004.
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.

Dolphin Notables
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.