Tulane Opens C-USA Play Against East Carolina

This weekend's games mark the seventh, eighth and ninth times Tulane and East Carolina will meet on the diamond, and the Green Wave hold a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series. Tulane won the previous two weekend series, two games to one, including last year's C-USA opening weekend on March 19-21 in Greenville, N.C.

NEW ORLEANS, La.–The Tulane University baseball team can take its first step toward a Conference USA Championship over the weekend as the Green Wave opens league play on Friday, March 18, when they take on East Carolina at 6:30 p.m.

The weekend series features the preseason favorites – Tulane garnered all 12 votes by C-USA coaches in a preseason poll – against the defending champs as the Pirates claimed the 2004 regular-season title en route to a school-record 51 wins. The two teams that advanced to the 2004 NCAA Super Regionals will take the field again on Saturday at 2 p.m. before closing out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for 1 p.m.

All three of the Green Wave's games will be broadcast live on WRBH 88.3, and Saturday's contest will be simulcast on WTIX AM 690. In addition, live stats to all the games are available on the internet via Game Tracker at www.tulanegreenwave.com. For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.

Tulane enters the Conference USA opening weekend 16-3 on the year after winning its last two games. The Green Wave claimed the series finale vs. Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, 13-9, and claimed an 8-4 victory over Texas Southern on Wednesday.

As a team, the Green Wave are hitting .309 with a .478 slugging percentage courtesy of 37 doubles, two triples and 23 home runs. Senior catcher/designated hitter Scott Madden leads the team with a .409 batting average, while junior centerfielder Nathan Southard ranks second on the club with a .371 mark. Junior utility athlete Micah Owings paces Tulane with six home runs, and senior shortstop Tommy Manzella leads the club with 19 RBI.

From the mound, the Green Wave have a 3.84 ERA and have held opponents to a .252 batting average. Brian Bogusevic paces the team in ERA with a 2.25 mark in a team-best 36.0 innings of work. Rookie Sean Morgan has been the team's best bullpen arm and has three of the Green Wave's seven saves so far in 2005.

East Carolina, meanwhile, comes into this weekend's showdowns 12-4 on the year and fresh off a weekend sweep of Navy and 14-5 victory over Elon on Tuesday.

The Pirates are hitting .327 as a team with a .515 slugging percentage on the strength of 41 doubles, seven triples and 20 home runs. Billy Richardson paces the squad with a .438 batting average, followed by Harrison Eldridge and Mike Grace with marks of .405 and .339, respectively. Drew Costanzo leads the team with six home runs, and shares the RBI lead of 20 with Richardson and Mark Minicozzi.

As a staff, East Carolina has a 4.42 ERA and has held opponents to a .258 batting average in 142.2 innings. Pirate hurlers have combined for 106 strikeouts and just 55 walks. Mike Flye paces East Carolina with a 2.91 ERA and four wins while Jeff Ostrander paces the squad with 19 strikeotus.

This weekend's games mark the seventh, eighth and ninth times Tulane and East Carolina will meet on the diamond, and the Green Wave hold a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series. Tulane won the previous two weekend series, two games to one, including last year's C-USA opening weekend on March 19-21 in Greenville, N.C.


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