June 7, 2005
NEW ORLEANS, La. - A school-record four Tulane University student-athletes were selected in day one of the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft as junior utility athlete Micah Owings and senior shortstop Tommy Manzella were drafted in the third round by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros, respectively, and senior catcher Greg Dini was selected by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 12th round Tuesday afternoon.
The trio join junior Brian Bogusevic, who was selected 24th overall in the first round by the Houston Astros, to tie a Green Wave record for most players drafted, tying the mark of four picked in 1986, 1987, 1997 and 2003. In addition, Manzella became the highest drafted Tulane senior since 1988 when outfielder Tookie Spann was picked by the Detroit Tigers in the third round.
Owings was the second Tulane player picked on Tuesday, going 83rd overall to the Diamondbacks. Like Bogusevic, Owings spent his college days both on the mound and at the plate, but he is expected to focus solely on pitching at the next level. Owings was drafted for the third time in his baseball career, after getting picked in the second round by the Colorado Rockies as a senior at Gainesville (Ga.) High in 2002 and in the 19th round by the Chicago Cubs last year as a sophomore at Georgia Tech.
In his first season in a Green Wave uniform, Owings earned second-team All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball, was tabbed Conference USA Player of the Year and was named first-team All C-USA as the utility athlete. For the season, Owings paces Tulane with 18 home runs, three triples, 60 RBI (tied for lead) and a .741 slugging percentage with his bat while leading the pitching staff with 123 strikeouts, a 9.74 strikeout-per-nine average and a 6.15 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
In addition, Owings ranks second on the team with a 3.64 ERA, .240 opponent batting average and 113.2 innings pitched while tying for second in wins with 10. He lined up at first base, designated hitter and left field as a junior, and is currently hitting .347 with 16 doubles.
Manzella (Chalmette, La.) - the 89th overall selection - was picked for the first time in his baseball career, and became the third Tulane player to ever get drafted by the Astros (joining Bogusevic and former shortstop Mickey McKee, who was taken in the 32nd round back in 2000). A first-team All C-USA selection in 2005, Manzella is tied for the team lead with 50 RBI, ranks second on the team with a .354 batting average and 22 doubles, and is third with 142 total bases and a .546 slugging percentage.
Manzella is the only player on the team to line up in the same defensive position in all 62 games to date, and leads the club with 166 assists while helping the Green Wave turn 33 double plays. He also has a career-best eight home runs in 2005, which ranks fifth on the team.
Dini, the 373rd overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft, was drafted for the second time in his playing career after getting picked in the 39th round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a prep senior out of Bishop Moore in 2001. A second-team All C-USA selection in 2005, Dini was named to the NCAA New Orleans Regional All-Tournament team after hitting .385 (5-for-13) with a pair of doubles, a home run and five RBI.
For the season, Dini is hitting .301 with 14 doubles, six home runs and 48 RBI. Since March 25, however, he is hitting at a .356 clip with nine doubles, four home runs and 32 RBI. A solid defender, Dini is a main reason why the Green Wave pitching staff has tallied a 3.83 ERA and 541 strikeouts, and he has thrown out 10 baserunners from his spot behind the plate.
Owings, Manzella, Dini and the Green Wave return to action on Saturday, June 11, when Tulane hosts NCAA Baton Rouge Regional champion Rice in the Super Regionals at Turchin Stadium, with first pitch slated for noon. The winner of the NCAA New Orleans Super Regional will advance to the 2005 College World Series in Omaha, Neb.