Green Wave Baseball Opens On The Road Friday

The Green Wave open the tournament on Friday when they take on TCU at noon, and return Saturday for a noon first-pitch vs. Texas Tech. Tulane will play its final game of the weekend on Sunday vs. defending national champion Texas at 2:30 p.m

The 2006 Houston College Classic marks the season-opening weekend for Tulane and the Green Wave will no doubt be looking for an encore performance from a year ago when the boys in olive green and sky blue won the Conference USA regular-season title, won a share of the CUSA Tournament Championship and advanced to the College World Series for the second time in school history.

There will be a lot of new faces on the team in 2006, but a fair share or recognizable names as well, including preseason All-Americans Brad Emaus, Mark Hamilton and Nathan Southard. Southard is the team's top returning hitting after hitting .341 (95-for-279), and Emaus is the top home run hitter returning after belting 13 bombs, en route to earning C-USA Freshman of the Year honors.

On the mound, the Green Wave will have a bit of a new look as well, but do return five veteran arms, including projected starters Brandon Gomes, Sean Morgan and Billy Mohl. Gomes went 8-2 with a pair of saves and a 4.42 ERA as a redshirt-sophomore last season, and Mohl - a starter in his first two seasons at Tulane - was solid out of the bullpen with four wins and a save in 45.0 innings. Morgan posted five saves and six wins out of the pen, and the Green Wave also return closer Daniel Latham, who paced C-USA with 13 saves in 2005.

The Houston College Classic is in its sixth year of existence, and will feature the Conference USA trio of Tulane, Houston and Rice taking on Texas-based institutions TCU, Texas and Texas Tech at Minute Maid Park - home of Major League Baseball's Houston Astros.

The Green Wave open the tournament on Friday when they take on TCU at noon, and return Saturday for a noon first-pitch vs. Texas Tech. Tulane will play its final game of the weekend on Sunday vs. defending national champion Texas at 2:30 p.m.

Tulane is 31-40 against the five other teams competing in the 2006 Houston College Classic. The Green Wave are 6-5 vs. TCU, including a 2-1 series win in the final weekend of the 2005 regular season. Texas, meanwhile, holds an 11-3 advantage in the series, including a 5-0 win in the second round of the 2005 College World Series. Saturday's matchup with Texas Tech will mark the first time the two teams will meet on the diamond.

In addition, Tulane is 18-17 all-time vs. Houston and 4-7 vs. Rice - including a 2-1 series win in last year's Super Regional - but the Green Wave will not face either team this weekend as they are both members of Conference USA. Tulane will host Rice on March 31-April 2 and play at Houston on April 7-9.

The Green Wave enter the 2006 Houston College Classic ranked in all four national polls, and sit as high as No. 12 in the latest Baseball America Top 25. In addition, Tulane is ranked 13th by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, 15th by USA Today and 25th by Collegiate Baseball.

Tulane is one of four nationally ranked teams to play at Minute Maid Park this weekend, joining Rice, Texas and TCU.

Texas, the defending national champions, is ranked No. 1 by USA Today (which is still using its preseason poll), seventh by Baseball America, 10 by the NCBWA and 14 by Collegiate Baseball. Rice is ranked second by the NCBWA, fourth in both the Collegiate Baseball and USA Today polls, and fifth in Baseball America. TCU, meanwhile, is ranked 21st by Baseball America, 22nd by the NCBWA, 24th by USA Today and 28th by Collegiate Baseball.

Texas Tech and Houston are both unranked, but the Cougars are currently receiving votes in the USA Today poll.

Tulane returns 15 lettermen, including eight starters, from a year ago, including preseason All-Americans Brad Emaus, Mark Hamilton and Nathan Southard.

Joining that trio from a positional standpoint are infielders Cat Everett, Tim Guirdy and Robbie Whitman, outfielders Will Rice, Rustin Rebowe and Matt Riser, and catcher Grayden Greiner.

On the mound, the Green Wave return the talents of former starters Brandon Gomes and Billy Mohl, and 2005 bullpen arms Daniel Latham, Sean Morgan and Chris Worster.

The Green Wave have some rather large shoes to fill from the 2005 team as Tulane must replace eight starters - including two-way standouts Brian Bogusevic and Micah Owings, who were drafted as juniors in the first and third rounds of the MLB Draft, respectively. Also gone following the 2005 season are graduating seniors Matt Barket (OF), Ricky Fairchild (RP), Joe Holland (2B), Scott Madden (C/INF) and Tommy Manzella (SS).

All told, the Green Wave will have to replace 88.5 percent of its hits (479-of-541) and 65.1 percent of its RBI (328-of-504) at the plate, and 46.4 percent of its wins (26-of-56) and 49.9 percent of its strikeouts (289-of-579) from the mound.

While Tulane returns 15 letterwinners from last year's College World Series team, the Green Wave will also get a boost from 10 players who redshirted last season, including 2004 letterwinners Matt Goebel, Tim Guidry and Tyler Kimmons.

Goebel, who was voted team captain prior to the start of the season, redshirted the 2005 season with an elbow injury, as did Kimmons with the same injury, while Guidry continue to rehab a foot injury suffered in the fall.

Tulane also welcomes back redshirt freshmen hurlers Peter Connick, Jonathan Garrett and Stephen Porlier, along with 2004 High School All-American outfielder Warren McFadden, bullpen catcher Marc Robèrt, outfielder Scott Powell and sophomore Devin Barnett (who transfered from UMass prior to the 2005 season).

As has been the case in years past, the Green Wave has added a glut of talented newcomers for 2006 with four Division I transfers, a junior college all-star and eight true freshmen. Changing uniforms this year are pitchers Trey Martin (Georgetown), John Michael Vidic (Georgia Tech) and Blake Walker (Duke), along with infi elder Jonny Weiss (Boston College). Catcher Ty Wallace comes to Tulane from Navarro Junior College while 2005 MLB Draft picks Aja Barto (OF/Houston, Texas/14th Round by Philadelphia) Max Kwan (C, Seattle, Wash./36th Round by Seattle) are joined by fellow rookies Jordan Greif (RHP, Austin, Texas), Seth Henry (INF, Berwick, La.), Nathan Newman (RHP, Houston, Texas), Anthony Scelfo (INF, New Orleans, La.), Nate Simon (INF, Redmond, Wash.) and Sam Wiley (INF/C, Los Angeles, Calif.).

PROBABLE STARTERS* B/T
C Max Kwan.........R/R ----- True freshman was drafted in the 36th Round by Seattle in the 2005 draft
or
Grayden Greiner....R/R ----- Played in six games off the bench in '05. 0-0 .0000
or
Ty Wallace.........R/R ----- JuCo star at Navarro JC, hit .388 there in 2004
1B Mark Hamilton...L/L ----- Preseason 2nd-Team All-American. 11-46 .318
2B Brad Emaus......R/R ----- Preseason 3rd-Team All-American. 13-56 .321
3B Jonny Weiss.....R/R ----- Transfer from Boston College. 0-10 .286
or Tim Guidry......R/R ----- Played in one game in '05, redshirted.
SS Cat Everett.....S/R ----- Last 4 Tulane shortstops all drafted. 0-4 .250
LF Warren McFadden.R/R ----- 2004 HS All-American, redshirted in '05. 0-2 .222
CF Nathan Southard.R/R ----- Preseason 1st Team All-American. 12-53 .341
RF Aja Barto.......R/R ----- True freshman was drafted in 36th Round by Seattle in 2005.
or
Anthony Scelfo.....L/R ----- True freshman also plays football at Tulane.
DH Sean Morgan.....L/R ----- Two-way player will also pitch Saturday. 0-2 .158
*statistics from the 2005 season

PITCHING ROTATION* B/T ERA W-L
Game 1 - Brandon Gomes R/R 4.42 8-2
Game 2 - Sean Morgan L/R 2.72 6-1
Game 3 - Billy Mohl R/R 3.80 4-1
*statistics from the 2005 season


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