Bogusevic To Take Mound As Tulane Takes On Rice

Tulane and Rice will play a best-of-three series – with Sunday's game slated for noon and the if-necessary game on Monday yet to be determined – and the winner will advance to the 2005 College World Series in Omaha, Neb. This weekend's games mark the second consecutive season and third time in the last five years the Green Wave has advanced to the Super Regional round

NEW ORLEANS, La.–The top-ranked Tulane University baseball teams opens play in the 2005 NCAA New Orleans Super Regional on Saturday, June 11, at noon when the Green Wave take on Baton Rouge Regional champion Rice at Turchin Stadium.

Tulane and Rice will play a best-of-three series – with Sunday's game slated for noon and the if-necessary game on Monday yet to be determined – and the winner will advance to the 2005 College World Series in Omaha, Neb. This weekend's games mark the second consecutive season and third time in the last five years the Green Wave has advanced to the Super Regional round. Tulane is 2-3 all-time in the round of 16, including a 2-1 showing vs. arch-rival LSU in the 2001 NCAA New Orleans Super Regional at Zephyr Field.

Saturday game will be televised on ESPN2. Sunday's game will be carried by ESPN. The Monday game, if necessary, is still 'time to be determined', but will be played at either noon or 6 p.m. The hannel that will broadcast that game has not yet been announced and depends on the results of other Saturday-Monday Super Regionals.

Tulane added approximately 400 new outfield seats to Turchin Stadium Thursday in preparation for the matchup with Rice and the results were a limited number of tickets on sale to the general public Friday. These remaining tickets were for standing room and the newly added general admission outfield seating areas only.

Each book contains a ticket for each game of the Super Regional series, and is priced at $45. Single game tickets are not available for sale.

Tulane enters the Super Regional 53-9 on the year, including the Conference USA regular-season championship via a 24-6 league record, a share of the 2005 C-USA Tournament title and the NCAA New Orleans Regional crown after winning the opener vs. Southern and taking a pair of games over Alabama.

As a team, the Green Wave are hitting .321 with a .512 slugging percentage courtesy of 149 doubles, eight triples and 81 home runs. Junior centerfielder Nathan Southard leads the team with a .359 batting average, and senior shortstop Tommy Manzella is next with a .354 clip. Junior utility athlete Micah Owings paces Tulane with 18 home runs, while he and Manzella are tied for the team lead with 60 RBI each.

From the mound, the Green Wave have a 3.83 ERA and have held opponents to a .254 batting average. As a staff, Tulane hurlers have combined for 541 strikeouts and just 169 walks in 549.1 innings. Junior southpaw Brian Bogusevic leads the team with a 2.72 ERA and 119.1 innings pitched, while Owings paces the club with 123 strikeouts. Sean Morgan and Daniel Latham have been the team's best bullpen arms as Morgan has six wins and five saves, while Latham has 12 saves and a win in 28 appearances.

Rice, meanwhile, advanced to Super Regional play after going 44-17, claiming the WAC championship with a 21-9 league record and winning the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional with an opening-round win over Northwestern State and back-to-back victories over host LSU.

The Owls are hitting .294 as a team with a .459 slugging percentage on the strength of 125 doubles, 15 triples and 63 home runs. Joe Savery paces the squad with a .376 batting average, followed by Josh Rodriguez and Adam Rodgers with marks of .347 and .332, respectively. Rodriguez paces the club with 11 home runs and 51 RBI while Tyler Henley leads the way with 12 stolen bases.

Owls' 2005 starting pitchers may be in the long shadows of the talented 2004 staff that featured three players taken among the first eight picks of the major league draft, but as a staff, Rice has a 3.14 ERA and has held opponents to a .219 batting average. Rice hurlers have combined for 551 strikeouts and 197 walks in 538.1 frames. Savery paces Rice with a 2.49 ERA and 125 strikeouts while Josh Geer paces the club with 11 wins and 118.1 innings pitched. Cole St. Clair leads Rice with 29 appearances, and Bryce Cox has three of the Owls' nine saves in 2005.

The Owls regular weekend rotation of Josh Geer, Eddie Degerman and Joe Savery has been tough and steady. Junior transfer Josh Geer (rhp, 11-4, 3.29) shares in the WAC in wins, has held opposing hitters to a .219 batting average and posted 102 strikeouts in 118.1 innings. In his most-recent outing at the Baton Rouge Regional, he fired a complete game and allowed just two earned runs with six strikeouts. The junior from Forney was close to two more wins in road games where the offense didn't provide enough support. In those two road outings at Louisiana Tech and Hawaii, the Owls hit a combined .190 and scored a total of four runs. Geer was earlier named the most outstanding player of the Minute Maid Tournament as well as the WAC pitcher of the week (Feb. 12) for his sensational outing against then number-11 Texas A&M.

Junior right-hander Eddie Degerman (rhp, 8-1, 3.07) pitched well in the weekend rotation. The California native has held hitters to a .202 batting average while registering a WAC-leading 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings of work. Degerman posted an eye-opening 16 strikeouts in the April 9 win at Louisiana Tech. He was one strikeout behind the school record of 17 set a year ago by all-America Philip Humber, the number three pick in the 2004 MLB draft. Degerman has allowed only two home runs in 91 innings with just 6.2 hits and 3.2 walks allowed per nine innings.

WAC player of the year Joe Savery (lhp, 8-4, 2.49) remained among the league leaders in starts (16) after making his Division I debut as the 2005 opening day starter (Feb. 5). The standout from nearby Lamar High School has held 419 batters to a composite .239 average. He is fourth in the WAC with 10 strikeouts per game and has fanned 125 in 112 innings. He struck out a career-high 15 against Fresno State (Apr. 30), an honor that helped him earn national player of the week honors from Collegiate Baseball. He struck out a total of 19 batters in his first two career starts. That's more strikeouts than either Jeff Niemann or Humber, two of the three 2004 first round draft picks, had in their first two Division I starts as Rice freshmen in 2002. His first relief appearance was May 11 against Big 12 co-champion Baylor and looked every bit the part of a closer. When not pitching, Savery plays first base and hits .376 from the left side.

The versatile Savery led the Western Athletic Conference in hitting and he is second in the league in ERA (2.49). As a hitter, the standout from nearby Lamar High School ranked among the WAC's best in on-base percentage (first), slugging (fourth), runs scored (third) and doubles (fourth). As a left-handed pitcher, Savery has compiled an 8-4 record while holding batters to a combined .239 average. He has recorded 115 strikeouts in 104.2 innings of work.

The Owls are 5-2 in the state of Louisiana this season. Rice is 3-0 in Baton Rouge, 2-1 in Ruston and 0-1 in Metarie. In three games at the Baton Rouge Regional, nine different Owls had at least two hits. Not only did junior Lance Pendleton belt six hits, including a pair of doubles, drive in five runs and score four, he and was the winning pitcher \ of the championship game. The Rice pitching staff maintained a strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 4.4-to-1.

Saturday's Super Regional opening contest will mark the ninth meeting between Tulane and Rice on the diamond. The Owls lead the all-time series 6-2, and Tulane is 1-5 vs. Rice under current head coach Rick Jones.

The last meeting between the two teams was back on Feb. 16-18, 1996 when the Owls swept the weekend series in Houston with 14-8, 7-3 and 9-6 victories. Tulane claimed the series finale of the 1995 weekend series with a 6-5 win over the Owls on March 12 at Turchin Stadium.

All of the Green Wave's postseason games will be broadcast live on the radio on WRBH 88.3 FM, and at least the first two contests will be simulcast on WTIX AM 690. In addition, all of Tulane's Super Regional contests will air live on television as Saturday's game will be on ESPN2 and Sunday's contest on ESPN. The station which Monday's game, if played, will be broadcast will be announced following Sunday's action.

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