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02/29/2008 1:30 PM ET
George Washington University baseball team to play first game at Nationals Park
Colonials to host Saint Joseph's at MLB's newest stadium March 22
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
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WASHINGTON -- The George Washington University NCAA Division I Baseball team will have the distinct honor of playing the first game at Major League Baseball's newest stadium, Nationals Park. The announcement was made jointly by the university and the Washington Nationals.

GW will host Saint Joseph's University at Nationals Park on Saturday, March 22, 2008, at 1:05 p.m., with gates scheduled to open at 12 p.m. The Atlantic 10 Conference game, which takes place eight days before the Nationals' official opener on March 30, will be the first one played in the new home of the Washington Nationals. Though played at a neutral site, it will count as a regular season A-10 home game for GW. The match between the Colonials and the Hawks will serve as a test run for the Nationals' staff as they prepare for the 2008 season in their new stadium.

"It is an honor and a privilege for the Colonials and the university to inaugurate Nationals Park," said W. Russell Ramsey, B.B.A. '81, chairman of The George Washington University Board of Trustees, a GW Athletic Hall of Fame member, and MVP and four-year starter for the GW baseball team as a student. "This is one of the dividends for the community of the return of Major League Baseball to the nation's capital, and it will be a proud moment for a proud team. It is also a source of great personal pride knowing that our student-athletes will have the opportunity to feel like major leaguers as they make history in the new ballpark."

GW head baseball coach Steve Mrowka said, "To be selected as the first team to play in the new stadium is really an honor. It's a great experience, not only for our players and the baseball program but for the entire GW community."

"The Nationals are looking forward to hosting The George Washington University baseball team as they take on Saint Joseph's at the first game to be played at our new ballpark," commented Stan Kasten, team president. "The game will serve as a great opportunity to assess the park's facilities and operations prior to the Nationals first game on March 29."

The game will be privately ticketed and is not open to the public. A limited number of general admission tickets will be made available to the GW community after March 10. A valid GWorld identification will be required. Details will be released separately.

The new stadium, seating more than 41,000 fans, is located in Southeast Washington adjacent to the Anacostia River, bounded by South Capitol Street to the west, N Street to the north, First Street to the east, and Potomac Avenue to the south. Nationals Park is located near the Navy Yard Metro Station (Green line). It is equipped with state-of-the-art video and audio technology, including a 4,500-square foot high-definition scoreboard beyond the outfield.

George Washington (3-0) swept its first three games last weekend at the Courtyard by Marriott Baseball Classic, hosted by USC Upstate in Spartanburg, SC. It marks the first time GW has won its first three games since 1993.

This is the second time in local stadium history that a GW team has participated in an opening of a Washington professional stadium. Forty-seven years ago, GW's football team hosted VMI in the "Dedication Game" of D.C. Stadium (now RFK Stadium) on Oct. 7, 1961.

The Nationals are scheduled to make their home debut at the new park Saturday, March 29, when they host the Baltimore Orioles in a 6 p.m. exhibition game. The following night, Sunday, March 30, the Nationals host the Atlanta Braves in a nationally televised game on ESPN at 8:05 p.m. in their official 2008 season opener. Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass at Nationals Park on April 17.

The George Washington University will play its season opener at Barcroft Park in Arlington, VA, this weekend when the Colonials host Yale in a three-game series. The series starts with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 1, beginning at 12 p.m. The series concludes with a single game on Sunday, also at 12 p.m.

Located four blocks from the White House, The George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the nation's capital. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business, and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 130 countries.

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