NEW ORLEANS, La.–The Tulane University baseball team was ranked fourth and junior utility athletes Brian Bogusevic and Micah Owings garnered preseason All-America honors as Collegiate Baseball Magazine released its preseason Top 40 and All-American teams Wednesday.
The Green Wave returns seven of its top nine hitters and four of its top five pitchers from the 2004 team that finished second in Conference USA, won the NCAA Oxford Super Regional and advanced to the NCAA Fullerton Super Regional. In addition, Tulane's recruiting class ranked fourth-best in the nation by Baseball America and fifth in the country by Collegiate Baseball. Owings, meanwhile, was named to the second-team All-America squad while Bogusevic earned a spot on the third team.
"We expected this team to have a high ranking in all of the polls, and high expectations are something that we've become accustomed to," head coach Rick Jones said. "Our approach will be no different. We've always had lofty expectations here at Tulane, but you can't be about expectations. It's got to be about what you want to accomplish individually and as a team.
"Our goals are always the same – play as well as we can during the regular season, get as high of a seeding as we can, make the NCAA tournament, and hopefully host. Then once we get into the postseason, hopefully we'll be playing our best baseball then."
Texas claimed the No. 1 spot in the preseason rankings, followed by Miami and defending national champion Cal State Fullerton. Following Tulane, LSU is fifth, while Stanford, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Texas A&M round out the top 10.
Tulane's lofty preseason ranking is the second highest in school history as Tulane claimed the No. 3 spot from Collegiate Baseball in 2002. The Green Wave are one of three Conference USA programs to claim Preseason Top 40 honors as East Carolina is ranked 32nd and TCU stands at No. 37. In addition, Tulane is one of three future C-USA squads in the Collegiate Baseball rankings as 2006 newcomers Rice and UCF claimed the No. 15 and No. 24 slots, respectively.
Owings claimed second-team All-America honors after putting up impressive numbers in two seasons at Georgia Tech where he was a two-time first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, the 2003 ACC Freshman of the Year and a All-American as a rookie. A right-handed pitcher who can play first and third base as well as in the outfield, Owings hit 30 home runs and won 18 games during his stay in Atlanta.
A native of Gainesville, Ga., Owings is a career .313 hitter with 106 RBI, and has twice been selected in the MLB Draft; in the second round by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of high school in 2002 and 19th round by the Chicago Cubs last summer. On the mound, he has an 18-6 record with a 3.93 ERA and 170 strikeouts in 201.1 innings of work.
The preseason honor is the second of the year for Bogusevic, as the native of Oak Lawn, Ill., claimed third-team recognition from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association on Nov. 18. Last season, he led the Tulane offense in RBI (68), triples (4) and total bases (132) while ranking second in home runs (10) and slugging percentage (.559) and fourth in hitting (.339). On the mound, he paced the team in innings pitched (111.2) and strikeouts (84), finished tied for the team lead in wins (9), and third in ERA (4.19) and opponent batting average (.289).
A second-team All-Conference USA honoree in 2004, Bogusevic was even better in the postseason, where he claimed Most Outstanding Player honors at the 2004 NCAA Oxford Regional after another stellar two-way showing. He hit .364 with a home run and six RBI while also picking up a win on the mound when he struck out three and gave up just two earned runs on eight hits in 8.2 innings of work vs. Washington in the opener.
Bogusevic, Owings and the Green Wave opens the 2005 regular season on Friday, Feb. 11 when they open a three-game weekend against Southeast Missouri State at 6:30 p.m. at Turchin Stadium. For season ticket information, contact the Tulane University Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.
Wave Baseball Ranked Fourth In Preseason Poll
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