Wave Picked To Win C-USA; Ranked Fifth by ESPN

Tulane was one of two state schools ranked in the Coaches' Top 25 as LSU claimed the No. 4 spot, and was also one of two C-USA squads on the list as TCU ranked 25th. The Top 5 ranking is the third of the year for the Green Wave as Baseball America picked Tulane No. 1 and Collegiate Baseball had the team fourth

NEW ORLEANS, La.–The Tulane University baseball team picked up a pair of honors on Wednesday as the Green Wave was the unanimous pick to win the Conference USA regular season title by a vote of league coaches, and claimed the No. 5 spot in the preseason Sports Weekly/ESPN Top 25 Coaches' Poll.

In addition to the team accolades, junior utility athlete Brian Bogusevic was tabbed the preseason favorite to win the Conference USA Player of the Year honor, and was joined on the all-conference team by a trio of seniors – outfielder Matt Barket, catcher Greg Dini and shortstop Tommy Manzella – as well as junior southpaw J.R. Crowel.

One of the primary reasons for the Green Wave claiming the preseason distinctions is the return of 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. The veterans join a Tulane's recruiting class that ranked fourth-best in the nation by Baseball America and fifth in the country by Collegiate Baseball.

Tulane was one of two state schools ranked in the Coaches' Top 25 as LSU claimed the No. 4 spot, and was also one of two C-USA squads on the list as TCU ranked 25th. The Top 5 ranking is the third of the year for the Green Wave as Baseball America picked Tulane No. 1 and Collegiate Baseball had the team fourth.

Bogusevic, who was named to the Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association preseason All-America teams, highlights the Green Wave's all-conference selections and returns after leading 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, when 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.

Barket joined Tulane last season after two years at the University of Miami (Fla.), and made the most of the change of scenery, earning third-team All-America honors from the NCBWA and first-team All C-USA recognition. He led the Green Wave in batting average (.370), hits (88), on-base percentage (.450) and stolen bases (13) while ranking second in doubles (17), RBI (52) and walks (34).

Joining Barket on the list of returning all-conference selections is fellow first-team Crowel, who also claimed first-team All-Louisiana selection last year after leading the team in ERA (3.39) and complete games (three) while ranking second in opponent batting average (.267), wins (eight), strikeouts (76) and innings pitched (103.2). He earned a spot on the NCAA Oxford Regional All-Tournament Team after posting a complete-game shutout victory over Western Kentucky in day two of the postseason, and was named Louisiana Pitcher of the Month in February and state pitcher of the week on April 26.

Dini was the second half of the Miami transfer, and like Barket, had an outstanding season in his first year at Tulane as he earned first-team All-Louisiana honors after pacing the team in home runs (11) and slugging percentage (.575). In addition, he ranked second on the club in hits (80) and doubles, third in batting average (.354), RBI (51) and total bases (130). Defensively, Dini flashed a strong arm behind the plate by throwing out 13 would-be base runners and picking off two others.

Manzella rounds out Tulane's preseason honorees after starting all 62 games at shortstop as a junior, pacing the squad in assists (185) and setting a Green Wave single-season record with 12 sacrifice bunts. A second-team All-Louisiana selection, he ranked second on the club in steals (11) and fifth in doubles (14), and earned a spot on the NCAA Oxford Regional All-Tournament after hitting .417 (5-for-12) with three RBI and a pair of sacrifice bunts in the postseason event.

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.


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