Bianucci Invited To USA Baseball Trials

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn freshman infielder Mike Bianucci has been named as one of 20 collegiate players invited to the 2006 USA Baseball National Team Trials, the organization announced on Tuesday morning.

In his first year on the Plains, Bianucci currently leads the Tigers in both batting average (.375) and slugging percentage (.595) and is the only player in the Southeastern Conference to be ranked in the top-10 in the league in both, checking in at second and ninth, respectively. He is also currently one home run shy of the team lead with eight and has driven in 31 runs this season, which is third on the team. Bianucci said that he's ready to see how he stacks up to the rest of the players invited.

"It is just an honor to be selected," Bianucci said. "I can't describe the feeling. It will be great to represent Auburn University and I can't wait to get up there."

Bianucci won't be the only Auburn connection at the trials as Coach Tommy Slater was named an assistant coach for the team earlier this spring. He said that Bianucci being invited is something that he's earned because of his play this season.

"This is a tremendous honor for Mike," Auburn Head Coach Tommy Slater said. "It is a direct reflection of the hard work he has put in and the success he has had on the baseball field this year."

Last summer Bianucci played for the Reston Hawks of the Clark Griffith League and he set the season home run record with 12 and led the league with a .792 slugging percentage as just a high school senior.

The Team Trials will be held June 22-July 1 in exhibition games played against teams in the New England Collegiate League. The USA Baseball National Team will be selected from a pool of 36 players, of which an additional 16 have yet to be determined. The official 22-man team roster will be announced on July 2.

"The National Team is defined by athlete performance in the college game," said USA Baseball General Manager of National Teams Eric Campbell. "This short list of invitees to the trials represents non-draft eligible players who's 2006 performance on the field has warranted an invite to the trials."

The 2006 USA Baseball National Team will look to defend their FISU World University Baseball Championshp this August in Havana, Cuba. Team USA will also participate in the 35th Annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate Championship Series here in the USA, July 25-29 and several Friendship Series at their home ballpark – Durham Bulls Athletic Park this summer. USA Baseball will announce a full National Team game schedule at a later date.

Auburn has had four players selected to the team in the past; Gregg Olson in 1987, Mark Bellhorn in 1993 and 1994, John Powell in 1993, and most recently, Steven Register in 2003.

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories