College Baseball Writers Rank Green Wave 14th

C-USA coaches picked Rice as the preseason favorite to win the league, while Tulane ranked ahead of Southern Miss, Houston and UCF, respectively. The ranking by the NCBWA is the third in as many preseason polls released to date in 2006, holding the No. 12 ranking in the Baseball America Preseason Top 25 and the No. 24 spot in the Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Preseason Poll

NEW ORLEANS, La.–The Tulane University baseball team was picked to finish second in the 2006 Conference USA race, according to a vote of league coaches, and the Green Wave were ranked 14^th in the nation by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, the respective organizations announced Wednesday.

In addition, junior first baseman Mark Hamilton and senior centerfielder Nathan Southard were named to the C-USA "Players To Watch" list. The league honor is the most recent for the pair in 2006 as Southard was named preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA while Hamilton claimed All-America honors from Baseball America.

C-USA coaches picked Rice as the preseason favorite to win the league, while Tulane ranked ahead of Southern Miss, Houston and UCF, respectively. The ranking by the NCBWA is the third in as many preseason polls released to date in 2006, holding the No. 12 ranking in the Baseball America Preseason Top 25 and the No. 24 spot in the Collegiate Baseball Top 40 Preseason Poll.

Southard earned the preseason honor after an outstanding junior campaign in 2005 when he hit .341 (95-for-279) with a .563 slugging percentage on the strength of a team-best 24 doubles, a triple and 12 home runs. He drove in a career-high 53 runs, scored a team-leading 80 runs and was 16-for-20 in stolen bases.

He earned first-team All-Conference USA honors, C-USA All-Tournament and All-NCAA New Orleans Regional honors in 2005, and was named C-USA Tournament MVP after hitting .583 (7-for-13) with three home runs and six RBI. All three of his long balls came in a semifinal showdown vs. Houston (May 28), which tied the Tulane and C-USA Tourney single-game record.

Hamilton, meanwhile, claimed "Player To Watch" recognition after hitting .318 with 11 doubles and 11 home runs while driving in 46 RBI last season as a sophomore. He was named NCAA New Orleans Regional Most Outstanding Player after hitting .667 (8-for-12) with three doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI in Tulane's three-game sweep of the regional field.

He started 43 of the Green Wave's 64 games - 32 in left field, six at first, three as the designated hitter and two in right - and despite missing time midseason with a thumb injury, finished third on the team with 11 home runs, fifth in walks (29), seventh in doubles and eighth in RBI.

In addition to Southard and Hamilton, Tulane returns six other starters and 13 lettermen from the 2005 team that finished the year 56-12, won the Conference USA regular season crown, earned a share of the C-USA tournament title and advanced to the College World Series for the second time in school history.

Tulane will host its annual Alumni Game on Saturday, Feb. 4, and the Green Wave open the 2006 regular season on Friday, Feb. 10, when they open play in the 2006 Astros College Classic vs. TCU at noon at Minute Maid Park – the home of MLB's Houston Astros.

For ticket information, contact the Tulane Ticket Office at 504-247-1240. The Ticket Office is currently located in the lobby of Fogelman Arena, and is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets can also purchase on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.


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