UM crushes Alumni, 20-3

For the first time in 2002, Mark Light Stadium was active on Saturday night, with many familiar names filling the atmosphere. Names such as Charlton Jimerson, Mike Rodriguez, Tom Farmer, and Greg Lovelady – only this time they weren’t sitting in the home dugout.
These were just a few of the many members of this year’s UM Alumni team, which comes out every year to take their stab at the current UM baseball team. The game also serves as the final test before the regular season.
Team members from last year’s national championship squad were just a few of the over 50 alumni that showed up to play in this year’s game.
Some of these Alumni, like last year’s champions, are just getting their start into pro ball. Others have long since been retired after playing for the Hurricanes as far back as the 1940’s.
Nothing has changed, though. They still love the game, and they still love the team.
UM Alum Ed Contreras, who played on the team from 1957-1959, was on hand and entered the game wearing the exact same glove he used during each game of his UM career. It didn’t fit on his hand, but he wore it anyway.
The best in UM history were sent out on Saturday night to see if this year’s team is ready to defend the national title.
The young Miami squad showed up to play, and gave the brand new scoreboard at Mark Light Stadium a bright debut by lighting it up for 20 runs – as they went on to pound the Alumni by a final score of 20-3.
A lighthearted Hurricane head coach Jim Morris expressed his thoughts on the game.
“This truly is a fun experience,” Morris said. “There are some great players out there, but at the same time we can’t get disillusioned by coming out here and winning 20-3. The Alumni aren’t in game shape, but its good for our team and our program. It’s good to see other pitchers, and it’s great to have these guys back. It’s fun to rag on them a little bit if they get ripped.”
Ripped is exactly what the UM hitters did by smashing 24 hits. This was especially true for the all-important freshman class, which will play a huge role on this year’s team.
“The great thing about having a young team full of freshmen is their competitiveness,” Morris said. “They are constantly fighting so hard just to get into the lineup, it steps up their game a little bit.”
With 13 Hurricanes signing into the pros, freshman outfielder Danny Figueroa was asked about the shoes he would have to fill this year.
“This is a dream come true for me,” Figueroa said. “Playing in the wake of a guy like Jimerson is a tough job, but I grew up coming to these games and UM is where I want to be.”
Figueroa is joined on the team by his identical twin brother, Paco. The twins are products of Gulliver Prep High in Miami, which was the same school attended by UM shortstop Javy Rodriguez. In total, there are 18 players on this year’s roster from South Florida.
The Hurricanes will do it for real next weekend when they open the 2002 season at home against the Tennessee Volunteers – a team which the Hurricanes eliminated from the College World Series just a year ago.
The first game will be played Friday night at 7p.m. at the Light, with Troy Roberson taking the mound for the ‘Canes.
The season opener will be followed by two afternoon contests against the Volunteers at 1p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Mark Light Stadium with Kiki Bengochea and T.J. Prunty the scheduled pitchers, respectively.