The Purdue North Central baseball team will host their eighth annual Alumni Baseball Game at Hicks Field on the south side of campus on Saturday, September 29th at 11am. With the continued development of the program another exciting game is anticipated.
Last year, on Oct. 8th, 2011, the current Panthers saw their record improve to 6-1 versus the Alumni following a 5-4 victory. The Varsity lost 3-2 in 2010 but won by the scores of 7-1 in 2009, 20-2 in 2008, 12-2 in 2007, 10-1 in 2006 and 4-3 in the inaugural game in 2005. To make the game more competitive the current Panthers hit with wood bats and allow the Alumni to hit with aluminum.
Several former players are expected back to lead the Alumni, who once again are expected to be managed by former long-time skipper and PNC Hall of Famer, Larry Blake Sr. Leading the Alumni will be current members of PNC's coaching staff, including former pro pitcher Shane Prance (class of 2012), PNC's all-time wins leader Tony Hoolehan (2012) and two-time All-Conference performer at catcher and outfield Ryan Frost (2011).
Also expected back are former pro outfielder and First Team All-American Chris Schultz (2009), former Honorable Mention All-American catcher, Chris Stocker (2008), former pro first baseman Steve Georgion (2007) and former pro infielder Steve Hudson (2008). Former player and coach, Scott Marks (2008), who was recently named the head coach at Illinois Institute of Technolgy, should also return.
The pre-game schedule has the current Panthers taking batting practice from 9 a.m. to 9:40 with the alumni following from 9:40 to 10:20. The varsity will take their pre-game infield from 10:30 to 10:40 and the alumni will follow from 10:40 to 10:50.
The current Panthers recently started practice and look to build upon a successful 2012 campaign when they finished 29-30 overall and 16-14 in the difficult CCAC. The young team matured as the season progressed and grabbed the 6th and final spot in the CCAC postseason tournament from 13 teams.
In the tournament the Panthers finished 3rd and knocked off #1 seed and 16th ranked Judson University and eliminated Robert Morris who was receiving votes before being eliminated by eventual champion St. Francis. The Panthers have now had five winning seasons in the last seven years and five post-season appearances during this stretch.
The Panthers have now finished 29-30, 25-23, 11-37, 31-24, 28-21, 28-22 and 32-20 over the past six years. Pizza and beverages provided by the PNC Baseball Program will follow immediately after the game.
All Alumni please RSVP for the game to Coach John Weber at 219-785-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In last years game the Alumni started the scoring in the top of the first inning. After Mike Zolper (2009) hit a one out single and Ryan Frost (2011) walked, former First Team All-American and pro player Chris Schultz (2009) hit a three-run bomb to leftfield off of eventual pro player Shane Prance (2012) to give the Alumni a 3-0 lead.
The Panthers answered with one run in the bottom of the third. Senior Nate Hall reached on an error and advanced to second base on the overthrow. Junior Ched Gaskin and eventual 2nd Team All-American then laced a run-scoring single to left-center field to make it 3-1.
The Alumni responded with their final run in the top of the fourth to build their lead to 4-1. Frost led off with a single and Schultz followed with a walk. After Frost was eliminated on a fielder's choice, Schultz scored on a single by former pro player Steve Hudson (2008).
The Panthers added two in the fifth inning to make it 4-3. Sophomore Colin Willis (eventual 1st Team All-Conference) reached on a one out hit-by-pitch that was followed by a walk by Hall. Gaskin reached on a walk to load the bases before both runs scored on a two-out throwing error by the third baseman.
The Panthers continued to chip away and took advantage of the Alumni's miscues by scoring the tying run in the sixth. Sophomore Trevor Williams reached on an error and eventually scored on a single by Willis.
Both teams remained scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings before the Panthers scored the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth for the difference.
Junior Rich Meyer reached on a single to lead off the inning. Freshman Darren Blaylock ran for him and reached second on a wild pitch. Junior Greg Tolliver hit a high hopper up the middle that Hudson mishandled. Hudson knocked the ball into shallow right-center field which allowed Blaylock to come around and score.
Both teams had five hits and allowed six walks. The difference was on defense where the Alumni committed five errors compared to the Panthers one.