Softball to host Purdue in doubleheader

March 11, 2008

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The JU softball team is in action again on Tuesday as they host Purdue in a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. at the JU Softball Complex.

Purdue will be the fourth Big 10 Conference opponent the Dolphins have faced this season, after already playing games against Minnesota, Michigan State and Penn State.

The Dolphins (12-16) went 2-3 over the weekend in the USF/Under Armour Invitational, opening with wins over St. Josephs and Maine before falling to Penn State, South Florida and North Carolina State.

Freshman outfielder Kayla Ouellet batted .385 over the weekend and stole two bases to improve her total to 16, giving her the JU single season record.

Sophomore pitcher Brittany Abbott recorded her first career victory, helping the Dolphins defeat St. Josephs, 2-1.

Scouting the Boilermakers

Purdue (15-6) comes in road tested, having played every game of the season away from home so far this year.

The Boilermakers have four players batting over .300 this season, including junior shortstop Candace Curtis(.455). Curtis also leads the team with five home runs and 20 RBI.

Junior pitcher Dana Alcozer, a transfer from Pima Community College, leads the pitching staff with a 10-4 record, while recording a 3.93 ERA.

Head coach Kim Maher enters her third season at the helm of the program.

Purdue and the Dolphins have only played once in their history, with the Boilermakers coming out 10-0 victors on March 9, 2006 in Clearwater, Fla.

Running away with it

Dolphins' senior outfielder Jillian Mirante is now tied for the school record for runs with 91 after scoring her 17th run of the season against Virginia on March 2 to equal Janine Palumbo's career leading total.

Mirante, who leads the team with a .326 batting average and 29 hits, now has recorded 164 hits in her Dolphin career, 21 shy of Palumbo's school record of 185.

A-Sun Play Begins Friday

The Dolphins open their 2008 Atlantic Sun regular season schedule on Friday as they take on Mercer in a doubleheader at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the JU Softball Complex, before hosting Lipscomb in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

The matchup between Mercer has been named the A-Sun's "Game of the Week".

Mercer (13-8) is led by senior first baseman Jamie Madruga, who is batting .429 with 20 RBI. Madruga was a second team all-conference selection last year for the Bears and is tied for seventh in the A-Sun career record books with 33 home runs.

Lipscomb (8-11) is led by 2007 first team all-conference selection Heather Collins and second team all-conference selection Lauren Dortwegt.

Sophomore shortstop Abby Keese picked up the first A-Sun "Player of the Week" honors of the year on Feb. 11, after hitting three home runs to open the year for the Bisons.

Keese is leading the conference with a .500 batting average and joined Dortwegt and Kellie Sirus on the 2007 A-Sun All-Freshman team last year.

Construction Begins

It has been a long time coming, but on March 3, construction began on the JU Softball Complex.

Renovations to the 500-seat stadium include a new grandstand that will replace the portable bleachers, and a pressbox is being built for the first time in JU softball history.

The work is being done by Seating Constructors USA Inc. and the grand opening is tentively scheduled for March 21, when the Dolphins' host A-Sun foe Belmont.

First Career Victory

Sophomore pitcher Brittany Abbott, who missed most of her freshman seasondue to injury, picked up her first collegiate win on March 6, as she helped the Dolphins' defeat St. Josephs, 2-1.

Abbott, who had only made one other apperance this season, recorded four strikeouts and four innings, while giving up just one run.

Abbott held the Hawks to just two hits while walking three batters in the win.

Dolphins against the Big 10

Purdue is the fourth team in the Big 10 Conference that the Dolphins will have faced this season.

The Dolphins opened the year on Feb. 7 with a 6-4 victory over Minnesota, before falling to the Golden Gophers, 5-2, the next day in the JU/Best Western Invitational.

The Dolphins then lost a 6-5 heartbreaker to Seminole Classic champions Michigan State, before falling to the GSU Eagles Invitational champions Minnesota in their third meeting of the season, 1-0.

The Dolphins then fell to Penn State, 2-0, in the USF/Under Armour Invitational in a game that began on March 7, but due to rain was continued the next day.

Streak ended

The Dolphins' longest hitting streak of the year ended against North Carolina State on March 9, as freshman shortstop Katie Kelly didn't register a hit for the first time in nine games.

Kelly batted .360, while tallying four RBI during her eight-game hitting streak, which lasted from Feb. 29 to March 9.

Kelly's previous long hitting streak of the year was six games, which lasted from Feb. 15 to Feb. 23.

Sophomore third baseman Beth Glasscock, sophomore first baseman Amber Moseley and freshman center fielder Kayla Ouellet each have current two-game hitting streaks going for the Dolphins.

All-Time Saves Leader

Senior pitcher Shannon Jensen further etched her name into the JU career record books as she became the school's career leader in saves with five.

Jensen, who earlier in the season picked up saves in back-to-back-to-back apperances, recorded her fourth save of the season against St. Josephs on March 6, as she gave up just one hit in three scoreless innings of relief.

Katie Dobson was the previous record holder with three.

­­Walk it out

The Dolphins' are on pace to draw more walks then they have allowed for the first time since 2005, where they did so by the slimmest of margins, drawing 144 walks and allowing 143.

So far in 2008, the Dolphins have drawn 70 walks compared to 66 allowed.

Senior designated player Patricia Melo leads the way for the Dolphins, having walked 20 times already this season. Melo walked a total of 19 times last season.

Senior outfielder Jillian Mirante, who walked 11 times in 2007, is the only other Dolphins in double figures so far in 2008 with 10 walks.

The Dolphins' freshmen have also shown the willingness to take the free pass on base, with catcher Jessica Abraham drawing nine walks, while outfielder Kayla Ouellet has seven and shortstop Katie Kelly has six.