"I just thought it was a fun evening for Auburn people and for Auburn baseball," Coach Tommy Slater said. "Kickoff off the evening with the home run derby, I didn't get a count but there were over 1,000 people watching that, obviously generated a little bit of excitement. It was really neat to see some of the former players. I just think it was a fun event."
With over 1,000 fans in attendance, former Tigers such as Gabe Gross, Jonathan Schuerholz, Tug Hulett and Chuck Jeroloman as well as Tiger broadcasters Rod Bramblett and Andy Burcham, former Auburn football players Kurt Crain and Cole Cubelic and Boys of Baseball Director Steve Cosgrove got the evening started with a home run derby to raise money for the Lee County Boys and Girls Clubs.
Among the celebrities, it was no surprise that Gross did the most damage. After Schuerholz surprised the crowd with two shots over the green monster in left, Gross bombed five home runs including several tape measure shots over the K Korner in right field to win the competition among the celebrities. Following that eight current players took their turns to see how well they could do in the competition. True freshman Russell Dixon, junior outfielder Clete Thomas and catcher Josh Bell all hit five home runs to lead the group. Gross said afterwards it was a great honor to be back in Auburn and see everyone again.
"It was awesome," Gross said. "Anytime you come back to Auburn is wonderful, but to be able to come back to Auburn and hit on the field and be in a little competition and hang around the guys that are playing now and old friends, it's just wonderful.
"It's unbelievable," Gross added of Auburn baseball's popularity. "Especially since the three or four years before I got here. The progression that Auburn baseball has made in the last 10 or 15 years has been phenomenal. I run into more people every time I come back that say their favorite thing to do on a spring afternoon was to come to Plainsman Park and watch Auburn play baseball. That's a testament to everybody that has had anything to do with it."
Following the derby the team scrimmaged six innings with the blue team dominating the orange squad 13-2 with transfer outfielder Jeff Boutwell leading the way with two hits and three runs batted in. On the mound Grant Cardwell got the win for the blue team with three scoreless innings. The lefty struck out three and walked just one.
Bell, Thomas, Tyler Johnstone and Ryan Clark all had two hits for the blue squad in the win. The blue team outhit the orange 11-5 on the night.
"I was very pleased with the guys," Slater said. "They were really excited to play in the atmosphere. I thought they got after it and played hard. The blue team dominated the orange team, but that wasn't by design. Our intra-squads have been very competitive throughout the fall so far. The blue team just jumped all over the orange team tonight. It was a great atmosphere and I think there was a lot of excitement around the ballpark tonight."