Tulane Baseball To Face Rice This Weekend

The games are part of a big weekend in Tulane Athletics, as the seven-member Hall of Fame Class will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Friday night and the "Magnificent Seven" will be formally inducted at a special brunch on Saturday morning at the James W. Wilson, Jr., Center. Tulane also celebrates a belated Homecoming 2005 on Saturday with the presentation of the court in front of Zephyr Field before the game, and both the king and queen will toss out the first pitch Saturday

NEW ORLEANS, La.–The Tulane University baseball team opens a three-game series vs. Conference USA newcomer and preseason favorite Rice on Friday, March 31, at 6:30 p.m. at Zephyr Field in a game that will be televised nationally on College Sports Television (CSTV – Direct TV channel 610).

The games are part of a big weekend in Tulane Athletics, as the seven-member Hall of Fame Class will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Friday night and the "Magnificent Seven" will be formally inducted at a special brunch on Saturday morning at the James W. Wilson, Jr., Center. Tulane will also celebrate a belated Homecoming 2005 on Saturday with the presentation of the court in front of Zephyr Field before the game, and both the king and queen will toss out the first pitch of the weekend's second ballgame.

The two teams – picked to finish 1-2 in the league by a vote of C-USA head coaches – will play again on Saturday at 2 p.m. before closing out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. All three games will be broadcast on the flagship station of Tulane baseball, WRBH 88.3 FM, and the games can also be heard on www.TulaneGreenWave.com to fans enrolled in the All-Access Pass. The pass will also allow fans to view the television broadcast of Friday's game via streaming video.

In addition, live stats are available free of charge on the official website of Tulane Athletics by clicking on the GameTracker link. For ticket information, contact the Tulane University Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE. The Ticket Office is currently located in the lobby of Fogelman Arena, and tickets can be purchased on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com or www.TicketMaster.com. The Zephyr Field Ticket Office, which is located on the third-base side of the stadium, opens two hours prior to first pitch.

While the Owls may be in their first season as members of C-USA, the two teams are familiar with each other as Tulane and Rice squared off in the 2005 NCAA New Orleans Regional at Turchin Stadium last June. Rice won game one of that series, 9-5, but Tulane bounced back with 7-0 and 9-6 victories over the next two days to punch its ticket to the College World Series.

Tulane and Rice enter the weekend 2-1 in C-USA play, and looking to get an early advantage in the run for the regular-season conference title. Both squads also bring high national rankings as the Owls are as high as No. 6 in a pair of polls while the Green Wave rank 11th in the most recent Baseball America Top 25.

As a team, the Green Wave are hitting .291 with a .394 slugging percentage courtesy of 43 doubles, six triples and 13 home runs. Junior first baseman Mark Hamilton leads the Green Wave with a .363 batting average, while redshirt-freshman outfielder Warren McFadden and senior centerfielder Nathan Southard follow closely with marks of .361 and .327, respectively. Hamilton paces the team with five home runs and 27 RBI, and senior centerfielder Nathan Southard leads the squad with 17 steals in 19 attempts.

From the mound, the Green Wave have a 3.76 ERA and have held opponents to a .259 batting average. As a staff, Tulane hurlers have combined for 205 strikeouts and 58 walks in 242.0 innings. Redshirt-freshman Stephen Porlier leads the team with a 2.29 ERA, junior Brandon Gomes has a team-high 45.1 innings, and sophomore Sean Morgan paces the K-club with 51 strikeouts. Junior Daniel Latham paces the bullpen with 15 appearances and has all five of the Green Wave's saves.

Rice, meanwhile, enters the weekend showdown 21-8 on the season and riding the high of a three-game winning streak, including an 11-1 win over Texas State on Wednesday night in San Marcos.

As a team, the Owls are hitting .303 with a .476 slugging percentage courtesy of 69 doubles, 12 triples and 25 home runs. Jordan Dodson paces Rice with a .385 batting average while Greg Buchanan and Brian Friday follow with .368 and .330 averages, respectively. Aaron Luna paces the club with seven home runs, Josh Rodriguez has a team-best 26 RBI, and both Dodson and Buchanan are tied for the team lead in stolen bases with six each.

From the mound, the Owls sport a sparkling 2.68 ERA and have allowed limited opponents to a .225 batting average. As a staff, Rice hurlers combined for 293 strikeouts and 99 walks in 258.2 innings. Eddie Degerman leads the Owls with five wins, a 1.10 ERA and 69 strikeouts. Cole St. Clair leads the bullpen with 17 relief appearances and has three of Rice's seven saves.

Following the weekend series against the Owls, Tulane will play game three of the WOW Café & Wingery Cup vs. cross-town foe UNO on Tuesday, April 4, at 6:30 p.m. at Zephyr Field. While the game is being played on the Green Wave's home field for 2006, the game is technically a home game for the Privateers.


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