Collegiate Baseball Recognizes Tulane With Preseason Awards

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Preseason All-American Brandon Belanger.
Preseason All-American Brandon Belanger.

Dec. 15, 1999

NEW ORLEANS - Tulane right-handed pitchers Brandon Belanger and Henry Bonilla, as well as second baseman James Jurries were named to the Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American team, Collegiate Baseball announced on Wednesday. In addition, the publication ranked the Green Wave baseball team is 13th in its annual preseason poll.

Belanger, a senior closer from Houma, La., was named a Louisville Slugger All-American at the end of last season. He set a school record 16 saves, and recorded a Conference USA leading 2.45 ERA. He also set the Tulane single season record with 41 appearances. Belanger recorded 16 of the 17 total saves posted by the Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American First Team.

The 1999 Louisville Slugger Freshman of the Year, Jurries was named to the Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American Second Team. A native of Lake Jackson, Texas, Jurries finished 13th in the nation in runs scored, averaging 1.38 per game. He also led Conference USA in total bases (194) and runs scored (90) and rounded out the top five in slugging percentage (.698), hits (104), RBI (79), home runs (20) and doubles (22).

Bonilla, a native of Reno, Nev., rounds out the Tulane preseason honorees as one of seven pitchers on the Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American Second Team. Bonilla, a 1999 All-Conference USA First Team selection, recorded a 3.34 ERA with an 11-1 overall record, while going undefeated in conference play. He led C-USA in innings pitched (124), batters struck out looking (46), and batters struck out (131).

"All three of these players are well deserved of the awards based on the seasons they had last year," head coach Rick Jones said. "I feel that if all three of these guys can maintain their health, along with a lot of the other guys on the team who can give us a lift, we certainly are in a position to merit the preseason ranking we received."

Along with the three All-Americans, Tulane returns its entire infield and two additional starting pitchers as the Wave begins the 2000 campaign ranked 13th according to Collegiate Baseball. The ranking is Tulane's highest preseason recognition since a No. 13 showing to begin the 1996 season. Collegiate Baseball lists Stanford as the preseason favorite with Cal State Fullerton and Alabama rounding out the top three, respectively. In the poll, five of Tulane's 2000 opponents are listed among the Top 20 teams in the nation.

"Anytime you are ranked in the preseason it says a lot about the expectations, and certainly we have high expectations for this club," head coach Rick Jones said. "This is a preseason poll and I think we are going to be a big game for a lot of clubs. Our schedule is extremely challenging and because we are preseason ranked everyone will be up for us. I am very excited for our ranking and I know our club is too, but at the same time we have got to be prepared for each and every game."

Tulane begins the 2000 baseball season on Friday, February 11, at Turchin Stadium with a three game series against San Diego State University.