The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Alumni stars come out at Dudy Noble

    A+Diamond+Dawg+alumnus+makes+contact+with+a+pitch.

    A Diamond Dawg alumnus makes contact with a pitch.

    Rain sprinkled the grass and dirt at Dudy Noble Field Sunday afternoon as former Mississippi State baseball players from all over the country competed in the 10th Alumni Game. Will Clark, wearing his cardinal red cleats, started the scoring with a two-RBI double in the top of the first inning. The White team got on the board in the bottom half of the inning after Don Bell singled and eventually took home on a wild pitch.
    In the bottom of the second, Ben Jenkins provided some comic relief when he fielded a Chris Curry grounder. His throw to first not only sailed out of the first baseman’s reach; it sailed out of Polk-DeMent Stadium. Jenkins helped turn a 4-6-3 double play later in the inning. Unfortunately for the Maroon team, the White team’s Steve D’Ercole, Rob Hauswald and Chad Henry each drove in a run that inning to go up 4-2.
    David Mitchell singled in two runs in the top of the third to tie the game at 4. In the bottom of the third, Shane Kelley delivered the only triple of the game as the White team poured on another three runs. The Maroon team answered in the top of the fourth with three runs of its own, tying the score at 7.
    Sound defense dominated the next few innings as neither team could manage to score. During that period, Bob Griffin came closest to hitting the game’s only homerun, but leftfielder Rusty Thoms caught the ball on the run steps before reaching the warning track.
    In the top of the sixth, White team pitcher Jack Lazorko dove off the mound attempting to catch a line drive. The ball deflected off Lazorko’s glove, but shortstop Brad Freeman robbed a second straight batter by charging the rolling baseball and throwing to first on the run for the out.
    In what might have been the play of the game, the Maroon team’s Carl Henderson hit a grounder between third and short with a runner on first. Third baseman Wash Respess made a diving catch, and while on his stomach, shot-putted the ball to second base for the force out.
    Del Bender put an end to the scoring drought in the bottom of the seventh inning with a double that scored the go-ahead run for the White team. The White team tacked on three insurance runs in the same inning, and neither team scored the rest of the game, resulting in an 11-7 win for the White team.
    For the fans, the Alumni Game was a time to see their MSU favorites from the past. For the players, it was a time for reunion with buddies from their college days.
    “We all look forward to coming back and seeing people we don’t normally see,” Bobby Thigpen (1984-85) said.
    “Simpler times. Life wasn’t nearly as complicated,” Buck Showalter said. “As you get older, you reach back for memories a little bit more.”
    “The good thing about coming back is getting chance to see all the guys who played here before plus getting a chance to see the facilities,” Clark (1983-85) said. “Every time I come here, it seems like it changes a little bit, and it really is nice.”
    The players also found time to reflect on memories that they have from playing at State.
    “We won an SEC championship here, and I set an NCAA record here,” said Bruce Castoria, who broke the NCAA record for grand slams in a season with four in 1981 (currently tied for second all-time).
    “My very first game as a Bulldog was here, and the first pitch, I hit a grand slam,” Thigpen said.
    The Maroon and White sides combined accounted for over six decades of MSU baseball. Together, the alumni played on teams that won the SEC regular
    season or tournament championship 12 times and reached the NCAA College World Series on seven occasions.
    “Sometimes, we think our era was the era, but there were a lot of people before and after that started things and maintained them,” Showalter said. “It’s a family, and a lot of people look forward to coming back and being part of the tradition.

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    Alumni stars come out at Dudy Noble