Mississippi College

PLAY BALL! MC Night at Mississippi Braves Stadium

January 9, 2008

Mississippi College Night is booked for April 21 at the Mississippi Braves' Trustmark Park with members of the MC family to gather for a spring evening of fellowship, food and baseball.

The inaugural event at the 7,416-seat stadium in Pearl will bring together MC students, faculty, staff, alumni, prospective students and other friends of the Christian university. With 4,600 students, MC is the largest private university in Mississippi.

M-Braves General Manager Steve DeSalvo recently welcomed Clinton-based MC into his lineup of promotional events at the home of the Double-A minor league team affiliated with the Atlanta Braves. That night, the M-Braves will take on the Huntsville Stars in one of the early homestands of the 2008 season. The game between the two Southern League rivals begins at 7:05 p.m.

As an added attraction, MC Athletic Director Mike Jones, who doubles as the men's basketball coach for the Choctaws, will toss out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the M-Braves game. An MC graduate, Jones was an MC baseball player in the 1970s. A pretty fair hitter for the Choctaws as a player decades ago, Jones coached the men's basketball team to the NCAA Sweet 16 last year.

"MC Night at the M-Braves game will be a great time for our students, alumni, friends and future students to all fellowship together and support MC," said Chad Phillips, executive director of enrollment services on the Clinton campus. "We are looking forward to a great night."

MC senior Aaron Graham, 21, of Jackson, the student government association president, predicts students will show up in big numbers for MC Night, just weeks before final exams in May. Count on the SGA leader to be on hand. "I'm a huge baseball fan" said Graham, who's made a few trips to see the Atlanta Braves play. "I think we will have a great turnout."

MC alumni from Hinds, Rankin, Madison counties and other nearby communities are expected to come for what figures to be an annual event at Trustmark Park.

The M-Braves stadium off Bass Pro Drive and Childre Road is a place where fans can see future Major League Baseball stars. At least 25 M-Braves have reached the big leagues. Last year, there were 13 former M-Braves on the Atlanta Braves active roster, including Jeff Francoeur, Martin Prado and Brian McCann. The M-Braves are starting their fourth season at Trustmark Park. The ballpark in Pearl ranks fourth in the Southern League in total seating behind Jacksonville, Birmingham, and Huntsville.

From the Crystal Springs Cafe to the Mid-South Ford Dealer's Family Fun Zone to the M-Braves game itself, MC Night promises to be a big hit with Choctaws fans. Mondays are typically Dollar Dog nights with hot dogs on sale for $1 each. More details on the special night for MC supporters, including ticket information, will be announced over the next few weeks.

PHOTO: MC Athletic Director Mike Jones

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