The BYU baseball team geared up for the season with their annual First Pitch Dinner and fundraiser Friday night.
The event featured two-time National League MVP Dale Murphy as a keystone speaker.
“I’ve been to a number of these things,” Murphy said. “But this is the nicest one I’ve been to with the best attendance.”
Murphy, who hit 398 home-runs during his time in the major leagues, reminisced of his days as a player at BYU where he met his wife Nancy and encouraged current BYU baseball players to be resilient and be good teammates.
BYU Head Coach Mike Littlewood announced a $1 million donation to the baseball program from David and Kristin Decker which will help provide a state of the art synthetic turf surface for Miller Park.
“A donation and a gift like that from Dave and Kristin Decker is truly, truly a game changer for this program,” Littlewood said.
President Kevin J Worthen, and Athletic Director Tom Holmoe were in attendance along with former Cougar and MLB player Wally Joyner.
The evening consisted of dinner, keynote speakers, a silent action of BYU baseball memorabilia signed by the current players of the team and the presentation of the Cameron Tuckett Award.
The Cameron Tuckett Award is given annually to the player who demonstrates consistent effort in academics, citizenship and baseball. This year the award was given to two seniors on the 2016 team, Eric Urry and Hayden Nielsen.
BYU Sports Nation host Spencer Linton served as a master of ceremonies and spoke highly of the two recipients of the award.
“There are some people that go above and beyond just the game of baseball and work really hard to be a positive influence in the community, around their friends, teammates, colleagues and church callings,” Linton said. “There are two very, very deserving recipients of this award this year.”
Littlewood spoke about how great it was to be part of BYU athletics and how happy he was with the program.
“This is really not just BYU baseball,” Littlewood said. “We talked about it in the coaches meeting the other day, it’s Cougar nation. This is what it’s all about, being part of BYU athletics.”
The BYU baseball season begins on Feb. 17 when the Cougars will travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech.