Baseball Kicks off 2003 with Alumni Game

February 1, 2003

Geoffery Shannon, <i>Hullabaloo</i> Sports Editor

The Green Wave baseball team held a Media Day Thursday, January 30, at Turchin Stadium as part of the 2003 pre-season festivities. Players and coaches were on hand for interviews and to give their take on the upcoming season.

Tulane returns both a veteran infield and outfield. Almost all the starters are juniors and seniors and many are expected to produce big numbers this season. On the flip side, the team is loaded with young arms that will have to develop fast as the season progresses. "This year we have a really deep pitching staff. We were lacking depth last year," junior pitcher Joey Charron said, [the rookie pitchers] will have time as the season goes on to develop.

"By the time the end of the season comes you are no longer a freshman pitcher. I expect us to be very competitive," Head Coach Rick Jones said. "I hope it's going to be a kind of year we can reflect back on and say it's one of the top ten years that we've had. We have some concerns but I hope they are the kind of things we can deal with."

The team also held a practice for the media after the 45-minute interview session that included pies to the faces of two rookies, Ryan Martin and Corey Penedo. Martin and Penedo played on the state championship Jesuit High school team last year.

Next on the agenda for Green Wave baseball is the Alumni game being held tomorrow at Turchin. Over 80 former players have committed to participate in the game against the 2003 roster. Members of Tulane baseball will be in attendance, some from teams as far back as the 40s and 50s.

Other alumni players include recent members of the Green Wave baseball team, including Jake Gautreau, Steve Shirley and James Jurries. Gautreau played for the Tampa Bay Yankees in the Florida State League hitting .249 with 18 doubles.

Shirley earned Central Professional League Rookie of the Year honors hitting .301 with 24 doubles and eight homeruns. Jurries was named Closest to Being Ready for the Big Leagues for Myrtle Beach with a .286 average and nine homeruns. The former alumni, along with several more of their former teammates will participate.

"It might be the best challenge weve had in a while because almost every player is a current professional player. Two first rounders and a great group of pitchers will be there. We're really excited about the game," coach Jones said.

The alumni game is a precursor to the regular season which begins next week at Turchin against St. Joseph's. Tulane's first real test will come early in the semester when the team faces Pepperdine at home, then travels to California to play in a tournament that includes Cal State-Fullerton, UCLA and the 2002 College World Series Champion University of Texas Longhorns.

"I think anytime you play a game you have to play well, but you can point to the Pepperdine weekend as a major challenge for us and then next weekend the tournament out at Cal-State Fullerton. Two of the teams we play out there are ranked in the top ten in Fullerton and Texas. That's a major challenge early in the season," Coach Jones said.

First pitch for the alumni game is 12 p.m. Saturday, February 1. Regular season action begins with a three game series against St. Joseph next weekend.

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