JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Following the execution of its fifth series sweep of the year, and a mid-week cancellation due to weather, the Jacksonville University baseball concludes regular season play at home with a three-game weekend series. The Dolphins (34-17, 11-6 ASUN) host Kennesaw State (25-25, 11-7 ASUN) at John Sessions Stadium, in a battle for the No. 2 seed in the 2018 ASUN Championship. First pitch for Thursday and Friday's contests is set for 7:00 p.m., while Saturday's regular-season finale will commence at 1:00 p.m.
Thursday's contest is sponsored by Black Knight. Fan can receive $1 admission and concessions on Friday evening, as part of the final $1 Friday of the season. Saturday is Senior Day at Sessions Stadium, with a ceremony taking place before first pitch to honor Jacksonville's 12 senior members.
JU vs. Kennesaw State: KSU leads, 19-18
JU vs. Kennesaw State at JU: KSU leads, 12-6
JU vs. Kennesaw State at KSU: JU leads, 11-7
JU vs. Kennesaw State at Neutral: JU leads, 1-0
Probable Starting Pitchers
Thursday: RHP Chris Gau (6-3, 2.56 ERA) vs. RHP AJ Moore (5-1, 2.87 ERA)
Friday: RHP Spencer Stockton (6-5, 3.97 ERA) vs. RHP Brooks Buckler (4-2, 2.74 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Tyler Santana (9-1, 3.16 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Rothwell (3-2, 3.81 ERA)
The Dolphins swept its fifth opponent of the season last weekend, dominating USC Upstate on the road. After overcoming a Spartan pitching performance to take Friday's contest, 5-3, in 11 innings, the team proceeded to outscore its host 29-8 in the following two contests, winning 14-5 on Saturday and 15-3 in the series closer. The 'Phins were scheduled to face off against Central Florida to conclude its mid-week schedule on Tuesday, but the game was cancelled due to inclement weather.
- Last weekend's series saw Jacksonville score 34 combined runs, the most in a weekend in the Chris Hayes era, and the most overall since Feb. 27-28, 2016, when they put up 42 runs on Mount St. Mary's.
- 10 different 'Phins have launched a home run so far this season, the most since 2015. Chris Lehane, Connor Stephens, Mike Cassala and Duncan Hunter each launched their first-career big-flies, while Jacob Southern and Evan Fernandez have set season-highs in the category.
- The Dolphins have swept five opponents in weekend series this season, the most since taking down as many in 2011.
- With 14 sacrifice hits thus far on the season, Lehane will set a new Dolphin single-season record with his next helper.
- Rookie reliever Chris Mauloni has emerged as the number to call out of the pen in save situations this season. The River City product picked up his 17th save of the season on May 2 against Bethune-Cookman, furthering the JU single-season record. Mauloni is second in the country in saves, and is on the chase for the NCAA record for saves in a season (24 - David Berg, UCLA, 2013)
- Sophomore Scott Dubrule became the third 'Phin to win an ASUN Weekly Honor this year, taking home Player of the Week on May 14 after hitting .500 with 13 RBI in four contests. The shortstop's weekend included a record-tying performance in Saturday's 14-5 win over USC Upstate, in which he went 4-6 at the plate and collected 7 RBI, tied for the most in program history in a single contest (game records go back to 2001).
- JU has emerged victorious in its first seven home series' for the first time since 1972, when the team posted a 25-5 home record and advanced to the its first-ever NCAA Tournament.
- As of May 16, Jacksonville has made its way into the postseason discussion with several major media outlets. The Dolphins are now projected to be a 2 seed in the Gainesville region of the 2018 NCAA Tournament according to both Baseball America and D1baseball.com CollegeBaseballCental.com ranked JU No. 12 on the latest edition of its "Mid-Major 12" last Wednesday.
Scouting the Owls
- Looking to compete down the stretch, Kennesaw State enters the final weekend of ASUN Conference play just half a game behind Jacksonville for second place in the league (11-7). Having dropped its last two and seven of its last eight contests, the team has fallen in its previous two league weekend affairs, losing two of three to FGCU on the road and NJIT at Stillwell Baseball Stadium.
- Led by Kennesaw State mainstay and recent Peach Belt Conference Hall of Fame inductee Mike Sansing, the squad leads the conference in doubled (72), runs (95), scoring (6.1 per-game) and slugging percentage (.407). Preseason All-ASUN selection Grant Williams is ranked as the 14th toughest batter to strikeout in the country and the first in the ASUN, falling to strikes every 15.2 at-bats on average. Williams also leads the league in doubles, with 16 to his name thus far.
- The Owls are led offensively by sophomore Terence Norman, who steadies the league in batting average (.349) and is tied for the team lead in hits (59) entering the final weekend of the series.
- KSU's Griffin Helms and David Chabut have both received weekly honors from the ASUN Conference this season, with Helms winning Player of the Week on March 26 following a 13 RBI week at the plate, and Chabut doing so on April 9 after going 8-14 against a dominant Stetson pitching staff.