Baseball travels to Gardner-Webb this weekend

April 12, 2007


After winning its first A-Sun series of the season, the JU baseball team (21-18, 6-6) will look to end a six- game losing skid at Varsity Field as the Dolphins travel to Gardner-Webb (13-23, 3-9) this weekend.
The first game of the series will be on Friday at 3 p.m. before concluding with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 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 18 games, he has raised his average over 50 points (.250-.301) after leading the squad with a .352 average (25-71), including a season-high seven-game hitting streak in which he has gone 14-for-28 (.500). 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 three times 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.

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
JU trails the all-time series against Gardner-Webb, 3- 9, but won its first series against the Bulldogs (2-1) last season at Alexander Brest Field.
The Dolphins will look to end a six-game losing streak at Varsity Field as JU has never won a game in Boling Springs, N.C.
The Dolphins have had a starting pitcher go the distance in three consecutive weekends: senior Justin Young (Kennesaw State, Campbell) and junior Matt Gardner (Mercer).
Senior left fielder Pete Clifford and junior center fielder Kevin Ferreira each enter this weekend with a team-high seven-game hitting streak.
Gardner-Webb enters the weekend having five- consecutive games and two consecutive A-Sun matchups (Stetson, Belmont). The only series won by the Bulldogs was against Lipscomb (2-1).