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College Baseball Attendance Record Is Broken at Petco Park

March 12, 2004|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — It figured that Tony Gwynn would be involved in a big baseball game here.

Gwynn's San Diego State Aztecs and the Houston Cougars played an Aztec Invitational game in front of 40,106 fans Thursday night, the biggest crowd in college baseball history. It was also the first game at the San Diego Padres' 42,000-seat Petco Park.

The old record was 27,673, set when LSU and Tulane played in the Superdome in 2002.

"This is plush. This is too plush for us," Gwynn said before his team's 4-0 victory as he looked over the $458-million downtown ballpark.

Gwynn retired from his 20-year career with the Padres in October 2001 and took over as coach at his alma mater in July 2002. Padre owner John Moores is a big Aztec supporter, and he approved the tournament.

Houston is Moores' alma mater.

Earlier, the Padres and the city dedicated the street next to Petco Park as Tony Gwynn Drive.

"It feels good," Gwynn said. "It was a bigger deal than I thought it would be. I've been retired 2 1/2 years and it's like I'm still playing."

The tournament also includes UCLA, Long Beach State, Nebraska and San Diego.

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