PERKINSTON - The Mississippi Gulf Coast baseball team opens it 2016 season in palatial surroundings Friday while its new palace in under contraction.
The Bulldogs went down to Biloxi's MGM Park on Tuesday to get one practice in at the Biloxi Shuckers' home ballpark, which is less than one year old.
Game times for the doubleheader is 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students.
"There were a lot of oohs and ahhs," Gulf Coast coach Rodney Batts said. "It was a terrible day to practice, but was good to get them out there and let that atmosphere sink in."
It was a windy and foggy day, but the Bulldogs went through a normal practice, starting with batting practice and ending with a crisp infield session. The team plays the first of nine home dates in Biloxi on Friday, hosting Jackson State Community College out of Tennessee.
Batts is familiar with the history of that team, having recruited players from the squad during his years as a Delta State assistant. They are known best for one thing.
"They're always going to hit," Batts said. "They've always got a lot of hitters in the lineup. Last year, they hit .336 as a team and hit 70 home runs. That's about all I need to know."
He said his starters will be limited to 65 or 70 pitchers, and the relievers to 35 or 40, as they build up their arm strength in the early going. The teams will play two seven-inning games.
Former Gulf Coast star Matt Lawton will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the second game. Lawton played 12 years in the majors, playing in a pair of All-Star games.