Top-Ranked Tulane Baseball Opens VS. SE Missouri

The Green Wave returns seven of its top nine hitters and four of its top five pitchers from the 2004 team that went 41-21, finished second in Conference USA with a 21-9 league mark, 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.

Much has been made of the preseason accolades lauded upon the 2005 Tulane University baseball team – the No. 1 overall national ranking, a pair of preseason All-Americans and five preseason All-Conference USA selections.

On Friday, the Green Wave will look to live up to those expectations as Tulane opens the season with a three-game series vs. Southeast Missouri State at 6:30 p.m. at Turchin Stadium. Following Friday's contest, the two teams will play game two of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m. before closing out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for 1 p.m.

Friday's game will be aired live on WTIX AM 690 while Saturday's contest will be on WRBH 88.3 FM. Sunday's game, meanwhile, will be broadcast on the internet only through the College Sports Pass on www.tulanegreenwave.com.

"We're anxious to play," head coach Rick Jones said. "This is something we've talked about for quite a while, and from a player's and coach's standpoint, we're eager to get going. Southeast Missouri State is picked to finish very high in their conference, they're a veteran club and have brought in a lot of junior college talent. I expect them to be a stiff challenge for us."

Junior southpaw Brian Bogusevic, who paced the Green Wave with nine wins, 84 strikeouts and 111.2 innings last season, will take the mound for the Green Wave on Friday. Transfer Micah Owings, who won a combined 18 games while striking out 170 in two years at Georgia Tech, will take the hill on Saturday, and either junior lefty J.R. Crowel (8-3, 3.39 ERA, 76 K) or sophomore right-hander Brandon Gomes (0-0, 3.38 ERA, 4 K in a medical redshirt 2004 season) will get the call on Sunday.

The Green Wave returns seven of its top nine hitters and four of its top five pitchers from the 2004 team that went 41-21, finished second in Conference USA with a 21-9 league mark, 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.

Bogusevic returns to lead a talented pitching staff, and will be joined by 2004 starters Crowel, who was also named to the preseason all-conference squad, and Billy Mohl (6-4, 3.70, 55 K). In addition, Tulane has the luxury of a deep and experienced bullpen with Ricky Fairchild, Matt Goebel, Gomes, Tyler Kimmons, Daniel Latham and Chris Worster waiting in the wings.

In addition to pitching, Bogusevic is also one of Tulane's top position players. He hit .339 with 10 home runs and a team-best 61 RBI in 2004, was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2004 NCAA Oxford Regional, and has been named to a trio of preseason 2005 All-America squads. Joining Bogusevic on the list of returnees are preseason All C-USA selections outfielder Matt Barket (.370-8-52), catcher Greg Dini (.354-11-51) and shortstop Tommy Manzella (.311-5-36). In addition, Tulane also returns seniors Joe Holland (.318-8-32) and Scott Madden (.326-5-16), as well as position players Tim Guidry (242-1-10), Mark Hamilton (227-3-28) and Nathan Southard (.297-6-37).

The list of talented newcomers is highlighted by transfer Micah Owings, who was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection and a 2003 All-American as a two-way star in two seasons at Georgia Tech. Also joining the team for the 2005 season is Junior College All-Star Matt Riser, High School All-American Warren McFadden and 2004 MLB draft picks Brad Emaus and Sean Morgan.

Southeast Missouri, meanwhile, is coming off a 29-28 season in 2004 when the Redhawks finished tied for fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 15-11 league record. SEMO returns 15 lettermen from that squad, including six pitchers and seven positional starters.

The Redhawks hit .301 as a team last season, and the top three hitters all return. Senior outfielder Eric Horstman paced Southeast Missouri with a .368 batting average a year ago while senior infielder Bracamonte and senior outfielder Frank Montiel were close behind with marks of .354 and .352, respectively. Bracamonte tied for the team lead in 2004 with eight home runs while pacing the team with 51 RBI.

From the mound, SEMO posted a 5.89 ERA and limited opponents to a .295 batting average with 415 strikeouts and 244 walks in 478.1 innings of work. The Redhawks will send senior right-hander Ryan Forsyth (4-2, 5.89, 53 K) to the mound on Friday night, followed by junior southpaw Derek Herbig (5-4, 3.72, 77 K) and junior right-hander Jamie McAlister (transfer from Jefferson Community College).

This weekend's games will mark the fourth, fifth and sixth times the two teams have met on the diamond, and Tulane leads the all-time series 2-1. In their only previous meeting, the Redhawks took the opener 9-8 at Turchin Stadium on March 1, 1996, before the Green Wave bounced back to take the next two games, 7-6 and 14-9.

For tickets to this weekend's games, or for season ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE or log on to the internet at www.tulanegreenwave.com.

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