June 17, 2005
2005 TULANE BASEBALL
Saturday, June 18, 2005
#1 Tulane (55-10) vs. #8 Oregon State (46-10)
Omaha, Nebraska -- Rosenblatt Stadium
College World Series -- Game Three (of CWS) - 1 p.m. (Central)
GREEN WAVE FACTS
2005 Record: 55-10
2005 C-USA Record: 24-6/1st
Head Coach: Rick Jones
Alma Mater/Year: UNC-Wilmington/1975
Record at Tulane/Year: 522-235-1/12th
Career Record/Years: 798-324-2/19th
President: Dr. Scott Cowen
Athletics Director: Rick Dickson
Ticket Office Phone: 504-861-WAVE
Tulane enters the 2005 College World Series 55-10 on the year, including the Conference USA regular-season championship via a 24-6 league record and a share of the 2005 C-USA Tournament title. In the NCAA postseason, Tulane went 3-0 in the New Orleans Regional and bounced back from a 9-5 opening-round loss to Rice in the Super Regional to claim back-to-back wins and advance to the College World Series for the second time in school history.
As a team, the Green Wave are hitting .321 with a .510 slugging percentage courtesy of 161 doubles, eight triples and 82 home runs. Senior shortstop Tommy Manzella leads the team with a .356 batting average, and junior centerfielder Nathan Southard is next with a .355 clip. Junior utility athlete Micah Owings paces Tulane with 18 home runs and 63 RBI, while Manzella paces the club with 21 stolen bases.
From the mound, the Green Wave have a 3.84 ERA and have held opponents to a .254 batting average. As a staff, Tulane hurlers have combined for 559 strikeouts and just 174 walks in 576.1 innings. Junior southpaw Brian Bogusevic leads the team with a 3.14 ERA and 123.1 innings pitched, while Owings paces the club with 131 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 pair of wins in 29 appearances.
Tulane & The College World Series
Tulane will be making its second trip to the College World Series and its first trip since 2001. In its only previous CWS appearance, the Green Wave dropped a 13-11 decision in the opener to Stanford, defeated Nebraska 6-5 in an elimination game, and concluded the season with an 11-2 loss to Cal State Fullerton.
While its been four full seasons since Tulane played in Omaha, there is one player player left from the 2001 club on the Green Wave roster as fifth-year senior Scott Madden was a true freshman on that team and started all three CWS games behind the plate. Madden received a medical redshirt in 2003, and after completing his bachelor's degree last year, decided to return for the 2005 season.
Tulane vs. CWS Field
Tulane has faced just one of the seven other teams participating in the 2005 College World Series, as the Green Wave swept a three-game series from Arizona State on Feb. 18-20 in New Orleans. All-time, Tulane is 21-24 vs. the CWS field, including an 8-13 mark against the Green Wave's side of the bracket (2-0 vs. Oregon State, 3-3 vs. Baylor and 3-10 vs. Texas). In addition, Tulane is 6-3 vs. Tennessee, 2-0 vs. Nebraska, 4-3 vs. Arizona State and 1-5 vs. Florida. Under 12th-year coach Rick Jones, Tulane is 5-3 vs. the 2005 CWS teams with a 4-2 mark vs. Arizona State, a 1-0 record vs. Nebraska, and an 0-1 showing vs. Texas.
How We Got Here
Tulane advanced to the College World Series for the second time in school history after defeating No. 7 Rice two games to one in last week's NCAA New Orleans Super Regional at Turchin Stadium.
Playing a Super Regional at the on-campus stadium for the first time in school history, the Green Wave got off to a rocky start as Rice jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in game one on June 11 en route to a 9-5 victory, but the Green Wave bounced back to win the final two contests, 7-0 and 9-6, to claim its second Super Regional title.
For the series, Tulane hit .327 (35-for-107) with a .467 slugging percentage courtesy of 12 doubles and a home run while driving in 19 runs. The pitching staff, meanwhile, posted a 4.00 ERA and limited the Owls to a .272 batting average (28-for-103) while striking out 18 and walking five.
After winning the 2005 NCAA New Orleans Super Regional, the Tulane University baseball team held steady atop the Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Sports Weekly/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Polls. Tulane holds the top spot in all four polls for the third consecutive week, marking the first time in school history that the Green Wave have accomplished that feat.
In addition, Tulane enters the 2005 College World Series as the No. 1 National Seed and looks to become the second top seeded team since seeding began in 1999 to win a national championship. The lone No. 1 National Seed to do that was Miami, which claimed the No. 1 spot in 1999.
While Tulane is making its second College World Series appearance in school history and first since 2001, the Green Wave have a trio of players with CWS experience. Senior outfielder Matt Barket and senior catcher Greg Dini were on College World Series rosters as freshmen and sophomores at the University of Miami (Fla.) in 2002 and 2003, and after transfering to Tulane prior to last season, will be making their first trip to Omaha in a Tulane uniform.
Scott Madden, however, is the lone holdover from Tulane's inaugural trip to the College World Series. Madden was a postseason star in 2001 when he earned Conference USA and NCAA New Orleans Regional All-Tournament honors, started all three games behind the plate in the Super Regional and again in all three World Series contests. Madden missed almost all of the 2003 season with an ankle injury, and returned as a redshirt junior last season before deciding to remain on the team as a fifth-year senior in 2005.
CWS Experienced Staff
While Tulane has just three student-athletes making a return trip to Omaha, all four Green Wave coaches have been to the College World Series at least once. Rick Jones, who is in his 12th season at the helm of the Green Wave program, is back for his second CWS appearance with Tulane, as is pitching coach Chad Sutter, who was the volunteer assistant in 2001. Current volunteer coach Matthew Boggs will be making his first appearance in Omaha as a coach, but played in the 2002 College World Series as a fifth-year senior at Georgia Tech. Associate head coach Mark Kingston, meanwhile, is making his third trip to the College World Series after playing in the event as a freshman at North Carolina in 1988, and serving as an assistant coach for the University of Miami during the Hurricanes' march to the national championship in 2001.
In addition, Tulane Athletic Director Rick Dickson was a member of the 1971 Tulsa University baseball team that made an appearance in the College World Series. Tulsa was eliminated by eventual-national champion Southern Cal.
The stat sheet reads like a small child trying to impress someone with how high they can count - 353, 354, 355, 356. Instead, those numbers represent the batting averages of Scott Madden, Micah Owings, Nathan Southard and Tommy Manzella, respectively. In the past, Tulane teams have usually featured that one "star" player that fans stopped what they were doing whenever he came to bat. This year, however, it has been someone new almost every day to deliver the game-winning hit or make the highlight-reel play to saved a lead late in the game.
Seven of the nine position starters in Monday's Super Regional championship game are hitting .320 or better, eight players on the postseason roster have at least 40 RBI, and six have scored at least 45 runs. That team effort is a big reason why Tulane is where it is today - in the 2005 College World Series.
Better Late Than Never
With the exception of the two runs the Green Wave scored in the first inning of Monday's game three of the 2005 NCAA New Orleans Super Regional, the Tulane offense got off to a slow start as the boys in olive green and sky blue scored just three runs in the first six innings of all three games. In the final three frames, however, the Green Wave bats came alive to score a combined 18 runs, including six runs in the ninth inning of Sunday's 7-0 victory and three more in the final frame of Monday's 9-6 win.
It Looks Good On You
While not visible to the average fan, the Tulane uniform had a bullseye placed squarely in the center in the preseason as the Green Wave claimed the No. 1 ranking from Baseball America Magazine.
Tulane wore it well, however, as the Green Wave never dipped below No. 3 in that poll and was never ranked lower than No. 5 in any of the four national polls at any time during the 2005 season. In addition, the Green Wave closed out the regular season No. 1 in all four polls and claimed the No. 1 National Seed by the NCAA Selection Committee prior to the start of postseason play.
As they had done in the regular season, the Green Wave responded well to the challenge by rolling through the NCAA New Orleans Regional with a 3-0 mark and bounced back from a 9-5 loss to Rice in the opening round of the Super Regional to claim 7-0 and 9-6 wins over the next two days to advance to the College World Series for the second time in school history.
Not On My Watch
Much was expected from utility athlete Micah Owings when he announced in August that he was trasnferring from Georgia Tech to Tulane for his junior season. While Owings went on to win Conference USA Player of the Year honors and claim second team All-America recognition from Collegiate Baseball Magazine, no performance was bigger than his showing in Sunday's 7-0 win over Rice. Facing elimination as the Owls won game one of the Super Regional, 9-5, Owings tossed a complete-game, three-hit shutout, and helped his own cause with a pair of hits and two RBI to extend the series to a decisive game three.
Then, with his team trailing 3-2 after seven innings on Monday in the championship game, Owings called an impromptu meeting in front of the dugout to rally his team. The club responded by plating four runs in the frame to take a 6-3 lead. The Owls scored three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, but Owings sparked a three-run ninth with an RBI-single for what proved to be the Super Regional-winning run.
For the series, Owings hit a team-best .462 (6-for-13) with two doules and three RBI, and earned the win in his game-two start when he struck out eight, walked one and did not allow a runner to get as far as second base.
Answering The Bell
Tulane did its best Rocky Balboa impersonation last week during the Super Regional, and just like in the movies, the Green Wave claimed a pair of wins in three tries. In Sylvester Stalone's hit movies, Rocky battles hard only to fall in the initial flick before rallying to defeat Apollo Creed and Clubber Lang in parts two and three, respectively.
The Green Wave, meanwhile, fell behind 7-0 in game one of the Super Regional against Rice, but made a game of it in a 9-5 loss. In game two, the contest was scoreless until the seventh when Scott Madden drew a bases-loaded walk for what proved to be the game-winning run before Tulane delivered the knock-out blow with a six-run ninth en route to a 7-0 victory.
Monday's series-deciding ballgame was the most dramatic of the three - despite not featuring a charity matchup vs. Thunderlips. Tulane claimed an early 2-0 lead in the first, but Rice had a pair of homers and an RBI single to take a 3-2 lead. The score would remain that way until the eighth when Tulane plated four in the top of the eighth only to see Rice tie the ballgame with three runs in the home half of the frame.
In the ninth, however, Tulane scored three runs on four hits to take a three-run lead, and sophomore reliever Daniel Latham retired the side in order in the bottom of the frame to punch Tulane's ticket to the 2005 CWS.
Far From Reserved
In Tulane's two wins over Rice in the 2005 NCAA New Orleans Super Regional, the Green Wave got huge contributions from a trio of players who did not start the contests.
In Sunday's 7-0 win, fifth-year senior Scott Madden was called on to pinch hit in the seventh as the Green Wave had bases loaded and two away. Madden watched four of the five pitches he saw sail outside the strikezone for an RBI walk. Junior left fielder Matt Riser, who had just four at bats prior to the game, replaced Madden in the lineup in the bottom of the seventh and took his post in left field. In the ninth, Riser stepped to the plate with two on and one away, and delivered a clutch RBI single up the middle to open the floodgates in a six-run frame to spark a 7-0 win.
In the championship game on Monday, rookie Cat Everett relieved fellow freshman Brad Emaus at third base in the bottom of the eighth after Tulane plated four in the top of the frame to claim a 6-3 advantage. Rice tied the score in the home half of the frame, but Everett ripped a leadoff single in the ninth, scored the go-ahead run on Micah Owings's single to left central, and later caught the final out of the Super Regional on a popup in foul territory.
Sophomore Daniel Latham proved to be better than Band-Aids when it came to stopping the bleeding during Tulane's postseason push as the right-hander from Covington, La., appeared in four games, posted a 1.12 ERA and a .115 opponent batting average in 8.0 innings of work. Along the way, Latham posted a save in each of Tulane's three wins in the NCAA New Orleans Regional, and earned the win in Monday's Super Regional-deciding 9-6 victory over Rice. Latham's three saves is a Tulane postseason record, and with the win on Monday, becomes the first Green Wave hurler to post a save or win in four consecutive NCAA postseason appearances.
Then & Now
In both of Tulane's College World Series years, the Green Wave...
...earned the Conference USA Championship (regular season and tournament) and entered the NCAA postseason with exactly 50 wins.
...opened the NCAA Regional against Southern, falling behind early before coming back for lopsided victories.
2001: trailed 4-3 after three innings before winning 22-9
2005: trailed 2-1 in the second before exploding for a 17-7 victory
...defeated a major-conference school twice in a row to wrap up the Regional title at home.
2001: Oklahoma State of the Big 12
2005: Alabama of the SEC
...hosted a Super Regional and lost the opener before coming back to win two in a row to clinch a trip to Omaha.
2001: vs. LSU (L 4-3, W 9-4, W 7-1)
2005: vs. Rice (L 9-5, W 7-0, W 9-6)
...entered the College World Series with 55 wins.
...played an unfamiliar opponent in the first round of the College World Series.
2001: the Wave had not played first-round for Stanford since 1982
2005: the last meeting with Oregon State came in 1991
...had two players earn All-America honors and at least one named Freshman All-American.
2001: Andy Cannizaro and Jake Gaurtreau claimed outright honors while Michael Aubrey and Tony Giarratano were earned rookie recognition
2005: Brian Bogusevic and Micah Owings earned outright honors while Brad Emaus claimed freshman recognition
...dominated Conference USA honors.
2001: Jake Gautreau (3B) was named Player of the Year, Michael Aubrey (INF/OF/LHP) was named Freshman of the Year, Rick Jones was tabbed Coach of the Year
2005: Micah Owings (1B/RHP) was named Player of the Year, Brad Emaus (3B) was named Freshman of the Year, Rick Jones was tabbed Coach of the Year
...went undefeated against state foes during the regular season.
2001: Tulane went 2-1 vs.LSU in the Super Regional to finish 14-1 against state teams
2005: the Green Wave was 10-0 in the regular season and added a victory over
Tulane & The Wins Record
With a 2-1 series win over Rice in the 2005 NCAA New Orleans Super Regional at Turchin Stadium, Tulane improved its overall record to 55-10, which is a school record for wins through 65 games. The Green Wave's current record eclipses the former 65-game wins record of 54-11 set in 2001 when the Green Wave went on to win C-USA regular-season and tournament titles, swept the field at the NCAA New Orleans Regional, defeated arch-rival LSU in the Super Regionals two games to one, and advanced to the College World Series for the first time in school history.
In addition, Tulane's 24-6 C-USA record is a new school record, shattering the former mark of 21-6 set in 2001. This year's C-USA record is one win away from the league record of 25-5 set by East Carolina last season. Tulane's four-game lead in the C-USA regular-season title ties the league mark set by East Carolina last season.
The Green Wave advanced to the round of 16 with a three-game sweep of the 2005 NCAA New Orleans Regional the first weekend of June at Turchin Stadium. Tulane got off to a good start with a 17-7 win over fourth-seeded Southern on Friday, won a convincing 10-4 decision over Alabama on Saturday, and blew a close game open late on Monday in a 7-4 championship-game win over the Crimson Tide.
One of the biggest opponents of the weekend was Mother Nature as rain caused the tournament to be halted four times, and the championship game start time had to be moved four times.
Sophomore first baseman/left fielder Mark Hamilton was named Most Outstanding Player after hitting .667 (8-for-12) with three doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI. He was joined on the All-Tournament team by catcher Greg Dini, third baseman Brad Emaus, designated hitter Micah Owings and pitcher Brian Bogusevic.
Tulane & Conference USA Championships
With Tulane's 5-2 series-opening victory over TCU on Friday, May 20, at Turchin Stadium, the Green Wave clinched its first Conference USA regular-season crown since 2001. The C-USA Championship marks the fourth time in the 10-year history of the league that Tulane claimed the regular-season title. Tulane also won the C-USA regular-season title in 1997 and 1998, while winning tournament titles in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2001.Tulane also won league titles in 1948 when it won the Southeastern Conference with a 7-1 league mark, and in 1983 when the Green Wave went 6-3 to claim the Metro Conference South title. In addition, Tulane also won Metro Tournament titles in 1979, 1982, 1992 and 1994.
Tulane & The C-USA Tournament
The Green Wave rolled out to a 3-0 start in the 2005 Conference USA Tournament in Hattiesburg, Miss., but Sunday's championship game was cancelled when heavy rains, hail and lightning came through the area and made the field unplayable. As a result, Tulane and TCU were named tournament co-champions, and the Green Wave received the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals based on being the highest remaining seed in the tournament. The co-championship marked the fifth time the Green Wave won a C-USA tournament title, joining the teams from 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2001. The cancellation marks the first time in C-USA history that a championship game in any sport was unable to be completed due to weather-related issues, while the co-championship marked the fifth time this spring a Tulane team won a C-USA title (swimming & diving, women's golf, men's & women's tennis).
Rick Jones Claims Tulane Win No. 500
In the midst of his 12th season at the helm of the Green Wave program, Tulane head coach Rick Jones entered the Green Wave's midweek matchup vs. LSU on April 19 at Zephyr Field just one win away from becoming the second skipper in Tulane history to claim win No. 500. With Tulane's 11-8 win over the Tigers, Jones joined the exclusive club to improve to 500-231-1 during his career at Tulane. Coming into the season, Jones had guided Tulane to a 467-225 record, including a school-record 56-win season during the 2001 College World Series season.
Jones currently stands as the second winningest coach in Tulane baseball history behind Joe Brockhoff, who guided the Green Wave to a 641-350 mark from 1975-93. For his career, Jones is now 796-327-2 in 19-plus seasons, including a 694-295-1 mark in 16-plus seasons at the Division I level and a 520-234-1 record in 11-plus seasons at Tulane.
Hits All Around
All nine starters posted at least one hit in May 26's 16-3 Conference USA Tournament quarterfinal win over East Carolina, marking the 10th time in 2005 that Tulane accomplished that feat. When all nine starters tally at least one hit each, Tulane is 10-0. The Tulane lineup has now posted at least one hit each vs. Arizona State (2/18), at Pepperdine (2/25), New Orleans (3/1), Marist (3/6), UAB (4/1), at Charlotte (4/8), Memphis (5/6), Saint Louis (5/13), and now the Pirates (5/26). In the East Carolina game, Tulane had 13 hits in the first three innings before head coach Rick Jones began subbing liberally.
Three Tulane Players Claim Louisville Slugger All-America Honors
A trio of Tulane student-athletes garnered All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball Magazine on June 2 as junior southpaw Brian Bogusevic was named first-team Louisville Slugger All-American, junior utility athlete Micah Owings claimed second-team recognition and rookie third baseman Brad Emaus was named Freshman All-American.
Bogusevic and Owings become the first two Tulane players to earn All-America honors in the same season since Jake Gautreau and Andy Cannizaro accomplished the feat in 2001, and Emaus becomes the 12th rookie to claim Freshman All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball.
Bogusevic and Owings were two of four C-USA players to claim Louisville Slugger All-America honors, as TCU right-hander Lance Broadway was a first-team selection and Southern Miss catcher Brad Willcutt was named to the third team.
In addition, the Tulane duo were two of a half dozen players from Louisiana programs to earn All-America recognition as Louisiana-Lafayette southpaw Austin Faught joined LSU outfielder Ryan Patterson and Tigers' left-hander Greg Smith on the second team, while Louisiana-Monroe righty Matt Green claimed a spot on the third team.
Bogusevic Named NCBWA All-American
Junior southpaw Brian Bogusevic claimed second-team All-America honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writes Association, the organization announced Tuesday, July 14. Bogusevic, who was named to the team as a utility athlete, was one of four Conference USA student-athletes to earn NCBWA All-America recognition as TCU hurler Lance Broadway and Southern Miss catcher Brad Willcutt were named to the first team and Southern Miss closer Daniel Best joined Bogusevic on the second team. He was also one of three players from Louisiana to claim NCBWA accolades as LSU outfielder Ryan Patterson was named to the first team while Louisiana-Monroe pitcher Matt Green claimed third-team recognition.
Tulane Trio Claims CBF Honors
Tulane standouts Brian Bogusevic and Micah Owings were named to the College Baseball Foundation National Honors Team, and Green Wave head coach Rick Jones was named one of three CBF Coaches of the Year, the organization announced on Wednesday, June 1.
Bogusevic earned a spot on the team as a pitcher while Owings claimed the honor as a utility athlete. Jones, meanwhile, shared Coach of the Year honors with CWS opening-round foe Pat Casey of Oregon State and Pat McMahon of Florida, whose team is also in Omaha.
New Look Turchin...New Turchin Records
Turchin Stadium had a bit of a new look throughout the 2005 NCAA postseason as temporary seating was added to increase seating to 4,600. Constructed prior to the 1991 season, Turchin Stadium normally holds 3,600 spectators, but bleachers used during the PGA-sponsored Zurich Classic of New Orleans were brought in to increase capacity to 4,200 for the regional. As a result, Green Wave fans posted three of the top six attendance records as the 4,125 on hand for the championship game was the second-largest crowd in Turchin history, the 4,097 on June 4 ranked third and the 3,967 on June 3 was fourth.
Another 400 seats were added for the Super Regional, and the attendance records set the previous weekend were bumped down three spots as 4,602 were on hand on June 11, 4,653 attended the June 12 contest, and a Turchin-record crowd of 4,708 was on hand on June 13 to witness the Green Wave defeat Rice 9-6 to earn their second trip to the College World Series.
The additions were just a temporary change to Turchin Stadium, as the facility will receive a facelift following the season. A new grandstand will replace the current one and the aluminum seats along the first and third base lines will be shifted toward the outfield. Expected capacity of the new and improved Turchin Stadium is expected to be around 5,000.
Feeling A Draft
A school-record four Tulane student-athletes were selected in day one of the 2005 MLB Draft as junior southpaw Brian Bogusevic went in the first round (24th overall) to the Houston Astros, junior utility athlete Micah Owings (83rd overall) and senior shortstop Tommy Manzella (89th overall) were drafted in the third round by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros, respectively, and senior catcher Greg Dini (373rd overall) was selected by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 12th round on Tuesday, June 7. The foursome tied a a Green Wave record for most players drafted, tying the mark set 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.
Tulane also had three of its 2006 freshman class selected as outfielder Jay Bruce (Beaumont, Texas) went 12th overall to the Cincinnati Reds, outfielder Aja Barto (Spring Branch, Texas) was picked by in the 14th round by the Philadelphia Phillies and catcher Max Kwan (Seattle, Wash.) was taken by the Seattle Mariners in the 36th round.
Bogusevic, Owings and the signees Barto and Kwan all have the option to return/attend Tulane for the 2005-06 academic year if they decide not to sign pro contracts. Dini and Manzella, meanwhile, have exhausted their college eligibility, while Bruce signed with the Reds last Saturday.
C-USA Tournament Recap
The Green Wave rolled through its first three games, but did not get much cooperation from Mother Nature on Sunday as the championship game was cancelled and Tulane shared the tourney title with TCU.
Tulane found itself in a dogfight in game one as eighth-seeded UAB erased a 3-1 deficit with a five-run fifth, but the Green Wave plated five runs of their own in the home half of the frame to claim an 8-6 win over the Blazers.
Game two was a runaway as Tulane enforced the mercy rule in a 16-3 Thursday win over East Carolina, and it was much of the same on Saturday when the Green Wave eliminated Houston with a 10-1 decision to advance to the championship game.
On Championship Sunday, however, heavy rains, lightning and hail moved through the Hattiesburg, Miss., area and the game was called due to unplayable field conditions. Tulane and TCU were named co-tournament champions, and the Green Wave were awarded the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals based on being the highest remaining seed in the tournament.
Southard Named C-USA Tourney MVP
Tulane junior centerfielder was named the 2005 Conference USA Tournament Most Valuable Player after leading the Green Wave in tournament play with a .583 batting average (7-for-13) and became just the second player in C-USA tourney history to hit three home runs in a game with a three-bomb performance in Saturday's 10-1 win over Houston.
He was joined on the all-tournament squad by teammates Brian Bogusevic, Brad Emaus and Micah Owings. Bogusevic and Owings earned spots on the team as pitchers after earning wins over East Carolina on Thursday and Houston on Saturday, respectively. Emaus, meanwhile, was one of the tourney's infielders after hitting .385 (5-for-13) with a double, a grand slam and five RBI.
Nathan Southard's three-home run performance in the semifinal win over Houston in the 2005 Conference USA Tournament (see `Southard Named C-USA Tourney MVP' above) marked just the second time in C-USA Tourney play that a player hit three homers in a game and tied a Tulane single-game record held by 11 others.
Southard saw a grand total of eight pitches in his first three plate appearances against Houston and connected on an 0-1 pitch in the first, a first-pitch offering in the third and a 1-2 offering in the fifth. All three of his round trippers went out to left field. The last Tulane player to hammer three home runs in a game was Jason Sparks in a 28-5 victory over Charlotte on March 22, 1998. In that game, Sparks hit a home run to left field, followed with another to center and closed out the day with another bomb to right.
Tulane Sweeps C-USA Player, Freshman & Coach of the Year
Based on the year the Green Wave has enjoyed to date, it would be safe to say that Tulane expected to see its fair share of names on the 2005 All-Conference USA Team. What may be a bit surprising, however, is that the squad took three of the top four honors as Micah Owings was named Player of the Year, Brad Emaus was named Freshman of the Year and Rick Jones was named Keith LeClair Coach of the Year.
Owings and Emaus were named to the C-USA first-team, and were joined by teammates Tommy Manzella (shortstop), Nathan Southard (outfield) and Brian Bogusevic (pitcher). In addition, battery mates Greg Dini (catcher) and J.R. Crowel (pitcher) claimed second-team All C-USA honors, while Emaus and Sean Morgan (pitcher) were named to the All-Freshman Team.
Owings, Emaus and Jones's sweep of Player, Freshman and Coach of the Year marks the second time in Tulane history that the Green Wave accomplished that feat, as the trio of Jake Gautreau, Michael Aubrey and Jones claimed the respective titles back in 2001.
Owings becomes the fifth Tulane student-athlete to claim C-USA Player of the Year honors, joining Chad Sutter (1999), Gautreau (2000, 2001), James Jurries (2002) and Aubrey (2003). Emaus is the fifth player to be named C-USA Freshman of the Year, joining Sutter (1996), Jurries (1999), Aubrey (2001) and J.R. Crowel (2003).
Jones, meanwhile, claimed his third C-USA Coach of the Year crown and will add this trophy to the ones he earned back in 1997 and 2001.
One Man's Opinion
During May 30's Selection Show on ESPN, the question was proposed, "Who do you think is going to win the 2005 College World Series?"
Baseball America associate editor John Manual went with last year's champion, Cal State Fullerton. ESPN college baseball analyst Kyle Peterson, however, gave the Green Wave fans something to cheer about as he picked Tulane to win it all in 2005.
Earlier in the year, in a Sunday edition of WWL-TV's Fourth Down on 4 had Baseball America's Will Kimmey on as guest, and he picked the Green Wave to advance to the championship series of the College World Series, but added that he thought Cal State Fullerton would win the title.
Tulane Playing Home In the Postseason
While they are not following any yellow brick road or clicking their ruby slippers together three times, the Green Wave have definitely followed the motto of the movie "The Wizard Of Oz" in the NCAA postseason - there's no place like home.
In six NCAA Regional games at Turchin Stadium, the Green Wave are a perfect 6-0 and claimed the 2001 and 2005 NCAA New Orleans Regional titles. In addition, Tulane went 2-1 in the 2001 NCAA Super Regional at Zephyr Field, and posted the same record last week vs. Rice in the 2005 Super Regional at Turchin Stadium.
Tulane & The National Seeding
The Green Wave claimed the No. 1 national seed for the 2005 NCAA postseason, and the right to host throughout the postseason.The national seed is obviously the highest in school history, and marks the second time Tulane earned a national seed since the NCAA began seeding the top eight teams in 1999 (when the Super Regional format began). The only other time Tulane received a national seed was in 2001 when the Green Wave was seeded fifth.
Keeping The Student In `Student-Athlete'
For four years, Tulane senior shortstop Tommy Manzella has been the quintessential studentathlete: carrying the Green Wave both at the plate and in the field, as well as maintaining a high grade point average in the classroom.
On June 1, Manzella was formally recognized for his accomplishments as the Chalmette, La., native was named to the 2005 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America University Division Baseball Team. He became eligible for the honor after claiming Academic All-District VI honors earlier in the year, which recognizes the top student-athletes from schools in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Manzella, who claimed first-team All-Conference USA honors posting a .356 batting average, 24 doubles, eight homers, 62 RBI and a team-best 21 stolen bases, is a four-time C-USA Commissioner's List Honor Roll and Tulane 3.0 Club honoree. He earned the distinction after posting a 3.427 career GPA, and completed his degree in marketing and legal studies in May.
Great Against The State
With Tulane's 17-7 win over Southern in the opening round of the 2005 NCAA New Orleans Regional, the Green Wave guaranteed itself of a perfect showing against teams from Louisiana with an 11-0 mark against teams from Sportsman's Paradise. Tulane had gone undefeated against the state twice previously during the regular season. The last time it happened, however, the 2001 team dropped a game the the NCAA New Orleans Super Regional to arch-rival LSU. With no more Louisiana teams alive in the NCAA postseason, it is impossible for Tulane to lose to another state school in 2005.
In '01, Tulane went 11-0 against the state during the regular season, and was 14-1 against Louisiana overall as the Green Wave defeated Southern in the first round of the 2001 NCAA New Orleans Regional, and took two of three from arch-rival LSU in the NCAA New Orleans Super Regional to advance to the College World Series.
In 2005, Tulane swept three-game tilts vs. Nicholls State and cross-town foe UNO, won both games against LSU, and took single game victories over McNeese State (Feb. 15), and Northwestern State (March 22).
Bogusevic Named Semifinalist For 3 National Awards
Junior southpaw Brian Bogusevic made a trio of semifinal watch lists as the utility athlete from Oak Lawn, Ill., has been named a semifinalist for the Xanthus-Dick Howser Trophy, Roger Clemens Award and the Brooks Wallace Award (former the Rotary Smith Award).
Bogusevic advanced to the semifinal lists after leading the Green Wave in ERA (3.14), wins (13), and innings pitched (123.1), while ranking second in strikeouts (123) and opponent batting average (.254). While at-bats have been limited due to an early-season hamstring pull, he has made good on his chances at the plate where he is hitting .322 with seven doubles and 24 RBI.
The Dick Howser Trophy is presented at the College World Series by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and the Roger Clemens Award is given out annually to the best pitcher by the Greater Houston Baseball Association. The Wallace Award, meanwhile, is awarded to the nation's top collegiate player by the College Baseball Foundation.
Dini Named Bench Semifinalist
Senior catcher Greg Dini was named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2005 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award, which is given to the nation's top collegiate catcher by the Greater Wichita Sports Foundation.
A second-team All-Conference USA honoree, Dini is hitting .295 with 16 doubles, six home runs and 50 RBI. Despite sustaining a pair of substantial injuries, Dini has started 55 games behind the plate and has been instrumental in the Green Wave pitching staff tallying a 3.84 ERA and 559 strikeouts. He also has shown a good arm with 11 thrown out baserunners in 2005.
A native of Longwood, Fla., Dini is joined on the semifinal list by Andrew Butera (UCF), Jeff Clement (Southern Cal), Tuffy Gosewisch (Arizona State), Brett Hayes (Nevada), Nick Hundley (Arizona), Jeff Kunkel (Michigan), Caleb Moore (East Tennessee), Taylor Teagarden (Texas) and Sean Richardson (Kansas).
The 100 K Club
Tulane had a pair of pitchers join the 100 K club during the 2005 regular-season as junior utility athletes Brian Bogusevic and Micah Owings posted 10 and nine strikeouts in their respective starts in the season's finale weekend vs. TCU.
For the year, Owings now has 131 strikeouts and Bogusevic has 123. The pair became the first Tulane pitchers since Nick Bourgeois (115) in 2002 to hit the century mark. In addition, the dynamic duo become the first two Tulane pitchers to post 100 strikeouts in the same season since 1996 when Jack Cressend and Jason Navarro posted 123 and 110 strikeouts, respectively.
In contrast, Owings and Bogusevic have combined for just 62 walks in 246.0 innings. Owings leads the team with a 6.24 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 9.61 strikeout-per-nine average. Bogusevic, meanwhile, sports a 3.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio and averages 8.96 strikeouts per nine innings.
During the 65 games heading into 2005 College World Series, the Green Wave pitching staff already ranks second in school history with 559 strikeouts. The K mark eclipses the 547 strikeout performance of the 1994 staff, and is just 10 behind school-record of 569 set by the 1996 squad in 53 games. In addition, the Green Wave has eight shutouts, which ranks tied for second in the school's record books, and the bullpen has 21 saves, which surpassed the former mark of 18 set by the 1999 squad. By averaging 8.60 strikeouts per game in 2005, the current staff would need to play at least two more games to break the strikeout record. If Tulane can maintain its current pace, the goal is virtually a lock as the Green Wave are guaranteed to play at least two games in the College World Series.
A year ago, the Tulane baseball team posted eight shutout victories - the most since the 1978 season when the Green Wave posted eight blankings in 43 games and the second most shutouts in Tulane history.
The 2005 squad picked up where the previous team left off with eight zeros leading up to the College World Series, including a masterful combined no-hitter on March 26 when J.R. Crowel, Billy Mohl and Daniel Latham kept Nicholls State without a single base knock in a 3-0 win at Turchin Stadium and a complete-game, three-hit shutout by Micah Owings on June 12 in game two of the 2005 NCAA New Orleans Super Regional vs. Rice. The Green Wave opened the year with a 9-0 victory over Southeast Missouri on Feb. 11, defeated McNeese State, 3-0 on Feb. 15, and posted another 3-0 win at Pepperdine on Feb. 25. In addition, Tulane posted shutout victories at UNO (8-0 on April 5), at Charlotte (13-0 on April 8) and Nicholls State (3-0 on April 26). In their final league shutout, Brian Bogusevic struck out nine in eight innings, and Daniel Latham tossed a scoreless ninth in a 6-0 win at Saint Louis.
Owings' goose egg vs. Rice was also the second complete-game shutout of 2005, joining the three-hit shutout tossed by J.R. Crowel in an 8-0 win at UNO back on April 5. Tulane is now just one shutout away from the school record of nine set by the 1976 team in 39 ballgames.
Tulane Tosses A No-No
In Tulane's 3-0 victory over in-state foe Nicholls State on Tuesday, April 26, the Green Wave accomplished something it had not done in over seven years - post a no-hitter. Starter J.R. Crowel tossed a pair of three-up, three-down frames, Billy Mohl threw six no-hit innings, and Daniel Latham came on to toss a perfect ninth to claim his seventh save of the season.
The no-hitter was the first by the Green Wave since March 8, 1998, when Josh Bobbitt tossed a seven-inning no-hitter in a 7-0 win over New York Tech. And while the two no-hitters were separated by 2,803 days, the two games do have a common bond as Chad Sutter has been involved in both. Back in 1998, Sutter was the Green Wave's starting catcher, and is now Tulane's pitching coach.
The lone perfect game in Tulane history came back on March 27, 1972, when Ed Bernard retired all 27 men he faced - including a school-record 21 strikeouts - in an 11-0 win over Cornell College.
This Schedule's Rank
While Tulane may be the No. 1 team in the land according to all four national polls and claimed the No. 1 National Seed for NCAA postseason play, the Green Wave have faced their fair share of ranked opponents during the 2005 season.
Tulane swept a three-game weekend series over then No. 11 Arizona State back on Feb. 18-20, won one of three games against then-No. 3 Cal State Fullerton, swept then-No. 25 East Carolina on March 18-20, took two of three from then No. 33 Southern Miss on April 22-24 and took two of three from then-No. 26 TCU in the regular season's final weekend at Turchin Stadium.
In addition, the Green Wave took a pair of games from arch-rival LSU, downing the Tigers 6-2 when they were No. 5 on March 8 in Baton Rouge, and claiming an 11-8 victory on April 19 at Zephyr Field when the Bayou Bengals came in ranked No. 12.
In the 2005 NCAA New Orleans Regional, Tulane twice defeated No. 16 Alabama to improve to 15-4 against ranked teams in 2005. Then, in last week's NCAA New Orleans Super Regional, Tulane posted a 2-1 showing vs. No. 7 Rice to claim the Green Wave's second trip to the College World Series.
Tulane has a chance to improve on a 17-5 record vs. ranked opponents as all eight teams participating in the 2005 College World Series are ranked in the Top 12.
First Time Through The Order
While Tulane has had its fair share of comeback victories so far in 2005, the first time through the lineup has not been a particularly memorable trip as the Green Wave are hitting just .286 (141-for-492) in their initial at-bats. As the game has gone on, however, the boys in olive green and sky blue have made their adjustments and are now hitting at a .331 clip (578-for-1746) the rest of the way and post a .523 slugging percentage courtesy of 129 doubles, four triples and 66 home runs.
For the season, Tulane has shown some power during its first nine plate appearances, with 32 doubles, four triples and 16 home runs while scoring 105 runs. A strength the first time through, however, has been free passes as the Green Wave now has 74 walks and eight hit batsmen.
Walking To New Orleans
While the offense has had its ups and downs throughout the 2005 season, one thing remained steady for Tulane - their ability to get on base via walk. Through 65 games, Tulane has drawn 325 base on balls (compared to 361 strikeouts) and has a .418 on-base percentage. The Green Wave have been able to capitalize on the free passes as 35.7 percent of the walks have scored and 116 of Tulane's 531 runs originally reached via walk. Senior outfielder Matt Barket leads the team with 50 walks, while freshman third baseman Brad Emaus is next with 42. Junior utility athlete Micah Owings is third on the team with 41 walks, followed by senior first baseman/catcher Scott Madden with 37 walks, sophomore first baseman/ left fielder Mark Hamilton with 29 and junior centerfielder Nathan Southard with 28.
In addition, both Emaus and Owings tied a Tulane single-game record with four walks in games vs. Marist on March 4 and at Southern Miss on April 22/23, respectively.
The long ball has been a mainstay in the Tulane offensive arsenal all season, but no power performance has been more impressive than the series-opener at Southern Miss on April 22 when the Green Wave pounded a season-best five home runs. Senior catcher Greg Dini hit the first round-tripper of the day with a three-run shot in the second, and junior centerfielder Nathan Southard belted a solo homer in the ensuing at-bat for home run No. 2. Senior first baseman Scott Madden ripped a three-run bomb of his own in the fourth, senior second baseman Joe Holland followed with a solo homer, and following a trio of walks, rookie third baseman Brad Emaus hammered his second grand slam of the year for team long ball No. 5. Tulane has now hit 82 home runs in 2005, and are 32-6 when they go deep at least once. Tulane is also 21-2 in multiple-homer games with 15 two-homer games, five three-homer outings, two games with four bombs and the five-gamer at Southern Miss.
`The Thrill' Is...Back?
Tulane had a special guest on hand at practice on March 31 as New Orleans native and former Major Leaguer Will "The Thrill" Clark spoke to the team prior to its final preparation for its home series vs. Conference USA foe UAB. Clark, who prepped at Jesuit High and helped lead Mississippi State to the 1985 College World Series before embarking on a 15-year Major League career, spoke to the team about the challenges baseball provides as well as fielding a barrage of questions from the eager-to-learn Green Wave student-athletes.
In the 38 games following Clark's "Dome Session" the Green Wave offense hit at a .335 clip with a .529 slugging percentage on the strength of 104 doubles, five triples and 48 home runs. In addition, Tulane posted a .430 on-base percentage with 194 walks and 47 hit batsmen, and was successful on 39 of 51 stolen base attempts.
In 15 seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles and Saint Louis Cardinals, Clark hit .303 with 284 home runs and 1,205 RBI, was an All Star six times, and won the Gold Glove in 1991. Today, Clark serves as a special assistant to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
A Glimpse At The Future
Last week's NCAA Super Regional showdown between Tulane and Rice was a glimpse into the future for the world of college baseball. While the Owls may still have had the letters "WAC" on their sleeves, representing their membership in the Western Athletic Conference, Rice played its last WAC games three weeks ago and will join the Green Wave as a member of Conference USA at the start of the 2005-06 academic year. The two teams represented the head of the class of the respective leagues as Tulane has the most wins in Conference USA history, and Rice has represented the WAC in NCAA postseason in each of the last nine seasons.
With 13 hits in Monday's 9-6 win over Rice in game three of the 2005 NCAA New Orleans Super Regional, Tulane has now posted 10-or-more hits in each of its last eight games. During that time, Tulane is hitting .367 (106-for-289) with a .629 slugging percentage on the strength of 30 doubles and 15 home runs while driving in 78 runs. The eight-game double-digit hit streak breaks the season mark of six in a row as the Green Wave accomplished the six-game feat from Feb. 27-March 8. All told, Tulane has 10-plus hit totals in 41 of 65 games so far in 2005, including a season-best 25 in a 24-2 win over Marist on March 5 at Turchin Stadium.
As the Green Wave open play the 2005 College World Series, seven members of the Green Wave squad look to extend some pretty impressive hitting streaks, including Nathan Southard who has the program's longest hitting streak since 1999 with a 20-gamer. Prior to Southard's streak, the longest hitting streak of the year was set by Tommy Manzella at 17 (Feb. 18-March 19), Scott Madden is next with a 15 gamer (Feb 19-March 13), and Southard had a 13-game streak earlier in the year (Feb. 12-March 8).
Great At The Gate
While Tulane has put another quality product on the diamond for the 2005 season, the Green Wave's effort has not gone unnoticed as the overall crowd of 145,084 and average of 3,720 fans per 39 home dates are both Tulane single-season records.
In 2005, Tulane fans set eighth of the Top 10 single-game attendance records at Turchin, and saw crowds of 5,431 (vs. UNO), 7,435 (vs. Arizona State), 9,385 (vs. Cal State Fullerton) and 12,069 (vs. LSU) rattle the turnstiles at Zephyr Field for the Green Wave's games at the Shrine on Airline. The crowd for the LSU game was a Zephyr Field record.
The previous attendance record was set back in 2001 when 127,670 fans were on hand during 48 home dates, but that season only average 2,659 fans per game.
The 10 K Club
During the 2005 season, Conference USA pitchers have posted a combined 25 double-digit strikeout games - 36 percent of which (nine) belong to the Green Wave staff. Brian Bogusevic got things going for Tulane with a career-best 13 strikeouts in the season opener vs. Southeast Missouri State (Feb. 11), and also had 10 K days at Louisville (March 27) and against TCU (May 20). Micah Owings leads all players with a trio of double-digit punchout games, posting 10 at Louisville (Feb. 27), 11 vs. UAB (April 1) and a career-best 12 on April 8 at Charlotte. Brandon Gomes chipped in an 11-strikeout game vs. McNeese State in his first start of the year (Feb. 15). J.R. Crowel joined the fraternity on April 5 with a career-best 10 Ks in the Green Wave's 6-0 win over UNO at Maestri Field, and tied the mark again on May 8 vs. Memphis.
As a team, Tulane has posted 10-or-more strikeouts in 29 of its 65-games, including a season-high 15 in the season-opener vs. Southeast Missouri (Feb. 11) and again vs. McNeese State (Feb. 15). The Green Wave have double-digit K totals in 12 of their last 22 games, including an 11 punchout performance vs. Houston (May 28) in the 2005 C-USA Tournament.
Slam...Let The Boys Be Boys
Tulane has had its share of home runs in 2005, and while the Green Wave's 81 home runs may not surprise many college baseball fans, what may turn some heads is the fact that seven of the long balls were grand slams. In the previous three years, the Green Wave posted a combined two grand slams. This season, however, the bases-loaded long ball has almost been a common occurrence. Freshman third baseman Brad Emaus leads the team with three slams, senior shortstop Tommy Manzella is next with two while senior outfielder Matt Barket and sophomore INF/OF Mark Hamilton have one each.
Barket hit the first slam of the season in the second inning of a 9-3 win over Arizona State on Feb. 20, and Emaus hit the first of his career the following Sunday in a 7-6, come-from-behind win at Pepperdine. Manzella added his first of the season with a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning of a March 4 contest against Marist, and Emaus ripped his second of the season in an 18-0 route of Southern Miss on April 22.
Manzella hammered his second grand slam of the year on April 29 in a wild 8-7, 12-inning win at USF, Emaus crushed his third of the year in the C-USA Tournament semifinal on May 28 vs. Houston, and Hamilton hit the latest in the fifth inning of June 3's 17-7 Regional win over Southern.
Tulane Loses A Friend/Leader
The Tulane University baseball program lost one of its most loyal supporters as well as one of the state leaders on Friday, April 15, when Louisiana State Senator John Hainkel died in his sleep at the age of 67. Hainkel, who served as speaker of the House and as Senate president during a career in the state legislature that began in 1968, was also a member of the Tulane Grounds Krewe - a group of locals from all walks of life who volunteer their time to help maintain the grounds at Turchin Stadium as well as prepare the field on game day. In honor of their fallen brother, the Tulane Grounds Krewe will wore black armbands for the remainder of the season as well as donning the initials "JH" on the back of their caps.
Going Out In Style
Prior to the start of the regular-season finale vs. TCU on May 21, Tulane's five-man senior class of Matt Barket, Greg Dini, Joe Holland, Scott Madden and Tommy Manzella was honored with a special ceremony. In addition, Tulane University President Dr. Scott Cowen was on hand to award diplomas to Manzella and redshirt-junior Ricky Fairchild, who earned bachelor's degrees, and Madden, who completed his master's in finance. From there, Madden went out and was 3-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and two RBI, and Dini delivered a two-out, two-run double to break a 1-all tie in the fifth to give the Green Wave a 3-1 lead they would not relinquish en route to a 5-1 Senior Day victory.
An Encore Performance
While Tulane's five-member senior class may have enjoyed solid outings in their final regular season game at Turchin Stadium (see `Going Out In Style' above), the quintet of Matt Barket, Greg Dini, Joe Holland, Scott Madden and Tommy Manzella added to their legacy over the past two weeks as the five student-athletes helped guide the Green Wave to their second consecutive Regional title and a trip to the College World Series.
The last senior class to play Regional games at Turchin Stadium was back in 2001 when then seniors Andy Cannizaro, Matt Groff, Jay Heintz, Barth Melius and Steve Shirley combined to help the Green Wave win the New Orleans Regional before taking the Super Regional 2-1 over archrival LSU at Zephyr Field to earn the school's first trip to the College World Series.
Owings Heating Up
As April approached and the weather began to heat up, so has the production of junior utility athlete Micah Owings. A notoriously slow starter at the plate, Owings is hitting at a .416 clip (52-for-125) and has an .808 slugging percentage on the strength of 12 doubles, two triples and 11 home runs since the start of April. In addition, since April 1, Owings has been almost flawless from the mound where he is 9-1 with a 2.51 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 75.1 innings of work. During his time on the bump over the past two-plus months, Owings has held opponents to a .219 batting average (61-for-279).
A career .313 hitter coming into the year, Owings' batting average had been in the mid .200s half way through March during each of his first two collegiate seasons. He followed a similar script in the early portion of the 2005 season, but is now hitting .354 with a .733 slugging percentage courtesy of 18 doubles, three triples and a team-best 18 home runs.
From the mound, Owings has been much more consistent and has a 3.38 ERA and a 11-4 record to go along with 131 strikeouts and just 21 walks in 122.2 innings of work.
Tulane & NCAA Standings
With a 55-10 overall mark heading into the 2005 College World Series, the Green Wave hold the nation's best record in terms of winning percentage (.846) and the second-most wins. In addition, Tulane also ranks seventh among NCAA Division I teams in doubles per game (2.48), nine in slugging percentage (.510), 12th in home runs (1.26/game), runs per game (8.2) and fielding percentage (.973), and 14th in batting average (.321).
Several Green Wave student-athletes also rank among the nation's leaders as Brian Bogusevic is fourth in the country, Micah Owings ranks 18th and J.R. Crowel stands 26th in the NCAA with 13, 11 and 10 wins, respectively. Owings also rankes ninth in slugging percentage (.733) and 30th in home runs per game (0.30), Nathan Southard is 29th in runs per game (1.20) and 46th in hit by pitch (0.28/game), and Matt Barket is 35th in walks (0.78).
While the term "Road Trip" may stir visions of the trip to Emily Dickenson College from "Animal House" or the Tom Green movie "Road Trip", games away from the friendly confines of Turchin Stadium were anything but comical to the Green Wave the previous two years as Tulane went just 22-28 away from home in 2003 and 2004.
This year, however, Tulane is 19-5 in games away from Turchin Stadium, including a 3-0 showing in the C-USA Tournament in Hattiesburg, Miss. Tulane enjoyed home field advantage throughout the NCAA Regional and Super Regional rounds, and will look to improve on its road record at the 2005 College World Series, where the Green Wave can play up to seven games.
The Next Big Thing?
During his weekly on-line chat in the middle of the 2005 season, Baseball America college writer Will Kimmey was recently asked who he thought would be among the hot names to take over as a head coach in the near future. Among his list of names was Tulane's own associate head caoch, Mark Kingston. If Kingston does get a head coaching job, he would be the sixth former Rick Jones assistant to garner his own post in Jones' 11-plus seasons at the helm of the Green Wave program. Two of Jones' proteges coach in C-USA in Cincinnati's Brian Cleary and TCU's Jim Schlossnagle. In addition, former Jones assistant Buddy Gouldsmith just completed his second season as the head coach at UNLV, Rob Cooper finished his first season at Wright State, and Jeremy Faber wrapped up his fourth season at St. Edward's University.
Playing With The Power
One of the mainstays of the Tulane arsenal has been the Green Wave's ability to go deep as the boys in olive and blue have now hammered 82 round trippers so far in 2005. When the Green Wave hits a home run, they are 36-6, including a 23-2 mark when Tulane posts multiple-homer outings. Home runs have put Tulane in the scoring column first in 18 of the 65 games leading up to the NCAA Super Regionals and provided the runs that put the Wave on top for good in 18 of the Green Wave's 55 wins. Tulane had hit at least one home run in eight consecutive games at one point before Houston was able to keep the ball in the park during April 17's 7-2 Tulane victory. Since then Tulane has hit at least one home run in 17 of its last 27 games.
Junior utility athlete Micah Owings paces the squad with a Conference USA-leading 18 homers, followed by freshman third baseman Brad Emaus with 13, junior centerfielder Nathan Southard is next with 11, sophomore INF/OF Mark Hamilton with 10, senior shortstop Tommy Manzella with eight, and a trio of seniors - second baseman Joe Holland, outfielder Matt Barket and catcher Greg Dini - with six apiece.
Keeping It Over The Plate
While the Green Wave hitters have shown a good eye at the plate with 325 walks, the Tulane pitching staff has been a polar opposite with just 174 walks in 576.1 innings of work. Seven of the 25 pitchers to see action so far in 2005 have 20 or fewer walks, including starters Brandon Gomes and Micah Owings who have 16 and 21, respectively. While the low number of walks may be impressive, the high number of strikeouts is twice that as the Green Wave staff has fanned 559 of the 2,205 foes who have drawn an at-bat to post a team 3.21 strikeout-to-walk ratio and an 8.73 strikeout-per-nine average.
Owings leads the team with a 6.24 strikeout-to-walk ratio with 131 punchouts to go with 21 walks, and Gomes is next with a 5.13 clip (82-16). Owings leads the team with 131 strikeouts, while Brian Bogusevic, Gomes and J.R. Crowel follow with 123, 82 and 76, respectively.
How Sweep It Is
By taking all three games over Saint Louis in the Green Wave's final road weekend of the regular season on May 13-15 at the Billiken Sports Center, Tulane completed the 2005 regular season with 11 series sweeps, including eight three-game weekend series and five in C-USA action.
Included in the list of sweeps is a three-game slate at Charlotte on April 8-10 as Tulane claimed its first road sweep since April 20-22, 2001, when the Green Wave broke out the brooms on Southern Miss, 6-4, 17-9 and 22-3, at Pete Taylor Park. The sweep at Saint Louis, meanwhile, marked the first time since the 1997 season that Tulane won all three games of a weekend series at the Billiken Sports Center.
In its sweeps, the Green Wave have outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 308-119 while hitting .351 (385-for-1097) and posting a team 3.23 ERA.
The Record Watch
As the Tulane players have no doubt enjoyed their run through the 2005 season so far, several players have found themselves ranked among the Green Wave greats as five players currently rank in the Top 10 in several career statistical categories.
Senior shortstop Tommy Manzella already stands second in career assists (636), third in sacrifice bunts (22), fourth in doubles (67) and at-bats (934), sixth in games played (243), seventh in hits (306), and eighth in total bases (447).
Junior southpaw J.R. Crowel, meanwhile, climbed to No. 3 in career starts (48) and currently ranks tied for fourth with Brian Bogusevic in victories with 26 and needs 12 more strikeouts to crack the Top 10 in Ks. Bogusevic, meanwhile, needs just four more Ks to crack the Top 10.
What A Relief
As a staff, the Green Wave have limited their opponents to a .254 batting average with a 3.84 ERA, 559 strikeouts and just 174 walks during a 55-10 record prior to the 2005 College World Series. A big reason for the remarkable numbers has been the play of the Green Wave bullpen, which has posted a 3.38 ERA in 167.2 innings of work.
The Tulane bullpen went 26.0 innings without giving up an earned run to start the season, and has allowed just 49 earned runs in the last 115.2 frames. All told, the bullpen is a perfect 13-0 on the year and set a school record with 21 saves. For the season, the Green Wave relievers have 155 strikeouts and 71 walks.
Sophomore Daniel Latham has appeared in a team-high 29 games, and paces the staff with 12 saves while ranking second among bullpen arms with 35 strikeouts to go with two wins in 41.0 frames. Freshman Sean Morgan is second on the club with 26 appearances, leads the bullpen with six wins and 40 strikeouts, and ranks second among relievers with five saves.
In the Academy Award-winning film Almost Famous, moviegoers were presented with the storyline of Stillwater, an up-and-coming band whose popularity was beginning to spread and was on the verge of hitting the big time. In the end, the band winds up living out every young musician's dream by being featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
While Tulane shed the "up-and-coming" label long ago, the Green Wave have followed a similar script throughout the 2005 season to provide baseball fans in the uptown New Orleans area a reason to cheer. And while the boys in olive and blue were not be featured in the rock industry's famous tabloid, Tulane was tabbed the preseason favorite to win the national championship by Baseball America and donned the cover of the periodical for the first time in school history.
The cover photo marks the first time a Tulane athletics team has been featured on the cover of a national magazine since the 1991-92 basketball season when the Green Wave men's hoops squad graced the cover of The Sporting News on the heels of their dramatic four-year run that went from Tulane not fielding a team to winning a game over St. John's in the NCAA Tournament.
Coming Soon To A Ballpark Near You
One season after adding a recruiting class that ranked fourth-best in the nation according to Baseball America and fifth by Collegiate Baseball, Tulane did it again in Nov. 2004 during the early signing period as the Green Wave inked five first-team all-state high school standouts - including an AFLAC All-American and a pair of players invited to Team USA tryouts - and a JuCo standout.
Outfielder Jay Bruce (Beaumont, Texas/Westbrook HS), utility athlete Aja Barto (Houston, Texas/Stratford HS), catcher Max Kwan (Bellevue, Wash./Seattle Prep), infielder Seth Henry (Berwick, La./Berwick HS) and southpaw Scooter Hicks (Houston, Texas/Houston Christian HS) all earned all-state honors as juniors in 2004, and are joined by catcher Ty Wallace (Carrolton, Texas/Navarro College), infielder Nate Simon (Duvall, Wash./Redmonds HS) and outfielder Casey Keen (Abita Springs, La./Fountainbleau HS) to form the signing class of 2004-05. Henry was selected to play in the AFLAC All-American Classic, Kwan and Simon got Team USA invites, and Wallace earned first-team all-conference honors last season at Navarro.
While the signees will not be ranked by any print publication until next fall, the 2006 recruiting class was picked among the Top 15 according to TeamOneBaseball.com.
While Tulane fans have enjoyed a successful Green Wave season, the olive and blue faithful have seen their fair share of baseball rarities so far in 2005. During the regular season, Tulane has posted a no-hitter, hit seven grand slams and turned a triple play.
The strangest occurrence of the year, however, may have came on March 20 vs. Conference USA foe East Carolina when the Green Wave clinched an 8-6, come-from-behind win with a strikeout. Not an opponent strikeout, but a K by Tulane senior right fielder Matt Barket. Tulane trailed 6-4 going into the bottom of the eighth, and the game was going to be stopped at 4 p.m. due to the Pirates' travel plans. The Green Wave rallied for four runs with two outs, and after a two-run double by senior Scott Madden, the team poured out of the dugout thinking the game was over. The home plate umpire, however, informed Tulane head coach Rick Jones that the inning had to be completed for the game to become official, Barket fanned for the final out of the stanza to spark the Green Wave celebration.
Back By Popular Demand
For the second consecutive season, Tulane shortstop Tommy Manzella will provide an inside look at Green Wave baseball throughout the 2005 season with another year of "Short Hops." An on-line weekly journal through the official website of Tulane Athletics - www.tulanegreenwave.com - Short Hops provides fans and media members with the human side of the game. Manzella's latest journal is already live on the web and can be accessed by clicking on the "Short Hops" button located on both the front and baseball pages of the website.
Out With The Old, In With The New
While the 2004-05 academic year marks the 10th anniversary of Conference USA, it will also be the end of an era and start of a new one as the league will undergo some changes for the following school year. The league will bid farewell to Army (which only competes in football), Charlotte, Cincinnati, Louisville, Saint Louis, TCU and USF, as well as non-baseball schools DePaul and Marquette. Tulane will remain in the league along with East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, Southern Miss and UAB. That group will be joined by newcomers Marshall, Rice, SMU, Tulsa, UCF and UTEP. Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and USF are all slated to join the Big East in the fall of 2005. Charlotte and Saint Louis will head to the A-10, while TCU will head to the Mountain West Conference. SMU, Rice, Tulsa and UTEP come to C-USA from the Western Athletic Conference while Marshall and UCF head over from the MAC and Atlantic Sun, respectively.