Shortstop Stephen Alemais led the Green Wave with three singles, two runs and two stolen bases against the alumni team on Saturday
Feb. 8, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - The past, present and future of Tulane baseball were on hand at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Saturday as the Green Wave baseball program held Alumni Day.
Dozens of former Green Wave players, dating all the way back to the 1940s, were on hand for the festivities that included an Old Timer's Game and a contest against the current roster of Tulane players.
At 2pm CT, the current roster of Green Wave baseballers took on a roster comprised of players who have played under the Rick Jones-era. The 2014 squad defeated the alumni by a score of 5-3, despite the fact that the starting lineup they faced featured ten professional players, including two of which played in the MLB just last season.
"We needed to give the guys who are here an idea of the guys who set the bar before them," said Jones. "We want them to be more involved with them, and I think we accomplished those things. We went up against a team that started a roster that all played professional, and four that played in the Major Leagues (Brian Bogusevic, Josh Prince, Brad Emaus and Tommy Manzella). There were a ton of ex-pro players that came in in reserve roles afterwards, too. I think it met a lot to (our current roster)."
Freshman shortstop Stephen Alemais led the current roster of Green Wave players with three singles, two runs and two stolen bases.
The 2014 squad got behind early, as a lineup that featured Prince, Manzella, Bogusevic, Jeremy Schaffer, Emaus, Anthony Scelfo, Cat Everett, Jonny Kaplan, Greg Dini and Jared Dyer may have made the players a little star struck. Senior Tyler Mapes started on the mound, and he allowed a walk to Prince to leadoff the contest. Manzella moved him to third on a single, and Prince came home to score on a passed ball later. In the second inning, Dini led off with single, and Jonny Kaplan replaced him on the basepaths. Manzella brought him home on a single for a quick 2-0 lead.
Freshman J.P. France started for the alumni - despite only having completed one semester of college thus far. The coaching staff wanted to give him the opportunity to see more live hitters, and he fared well against his teammates on the afternoon.
Mapes quickly settled down, and was able to strikeout five over three innings. He got some offensive help, too, as Alemais singled and scored in the bottom of the fourth to put the Green Wave on the board for the first time on a sacrifice fly from freshman outfielder Grant Brown.
The Green Wave took the lead in the next inning of former Major League pitcher Mike Romano, who was credited with the loss in the contest. Alemais singled, stole a base and scored in the inning, while junior infielder Garrett Deschamp walked and eventually scored on an error.
Manzella and the alumni chipped away at the lead in the top of the sixth when he singled off sophomore right-handed pitcher Emerson Gibbs and scored a run on an RBI-single by Emaus.
Sophomore righty Dan Rankin came on the mound in the seventh inning, and he retired six straight to earn the victory. Senior righty reliever Kyle McKenzie recorded outs against Keith Graffagnini, Matt Barkett and Joe Holland for the final three outs and the save.
In addition to the aforementioned players who played against the current Green Wave team, Nick Pepitone, Ricky Fairchild, Jonathan Garrett and Barth Melius - who was wearing Jones' No. 10 - all took the mound on the afternoon. Nick Boullosa, Grayden Griener, Tucker Oakley, Drew Allain, Blake Crohan, Karl Mundt and Michael Johns all took at-bats for the alumni team.
Prior to the contest that pitted the 2014 roster against the more recent alumni, an Old Timer's game took place, where many players from the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s had the opportunity to play on their home field once again. Former player and current associate head coach Chad Sutter pitched for most of the contest, despite the fact that he played catcher during his time at Tulane. That didn't matter, though, as he was able to get through the first four innings of the game relatively unscathed.
However, Sutter was matched up against former Green Wave and New York Yankees pitcher Kevin Mmahat, who was also dealing effectively. Coupled with the play in the field and at the dish by Robert Whitman - who was named the MVP of the contest by Graffagnini - Mmahat's squad went on to win the game.
In between the two contests, the Voice of the Green Wave, Todd Graffagnini, had the pleasure of introducing each and every one of the former Green Wave players who made it out to the park for the afternoon. After announcing over 80 names, Graffagnini highlighted the players who returned to Greer Field at Turchin Stadium that played on the 1994 squad, which was Jones' first team at Tulane.
Following their introduction, Graffagnini announced the presence of the oldest alum at the contest, Mr. Don Schell, who wore the Olive and Blue during the 1943-47 seasons. In addition to Schell, the last two coaches of the Green Wave were on hand, as Milt Retif and Joe Brockhoff were at the park. Along with Jones, the trio of skippers have combined to lead the last 47 Tulane baseball seasons.
"This was a tremendous turnout, and this was something that we've missed having," said Jones. "This was the first Alumni Game that we had at this new stadium. To see so many of those guys to come back with pride was something that was not lost on me."
On Friday, the 2014 regular season will open at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium when the Green Wave welcome Arkansas-Pine Bluff for a four-game weekend series, including a Saturday doubleheader.
On opening night, Friday, Feb. 14, fans can come listen to the Pocket Aces Brass Band in front in between Greer Field at Turchin Stadium and the Wilson Center from 4-6pm CT before heading into the park for the first game of the 2014 campaign. Food and beverages will be available.
Season ticket and single game tickets for the 2014 Tulane baseball season are now on sale. Interested parties can call 504-861-WAVE (9283) for more information on tickets, or they may visit the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center's first floor ticket office.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.