With the aim of aiding tornado relief on the William Carey University campus in Hattiesburg, the Biloxi Shuckers will play host to the WCU baseball team for an exhibition game at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday night.
The event will be the first chance for the newest Shuckers to jog onto field at MGM Park, but the game will have a greater cause for William Carey and its main campus in Hattiesburg.
An EF-3 tornado caused extensive damage to the WCU campus on Jan. 21, destroying six buildings.
Nobody was killed on the Hattiesburg campus, but the tornado claimed the lives of four people in South Mississippi.
The demolition project is well underway at WCU, including an effort to bring down the school’s oldest building – the 102-year-old Tatum Court.
Shuckers general manager Chuck Arnold knew that the team’s parent club, the Milwaukee Brewers, wanted the team to play an exhibition game prior to the 2017 season and William Carey made sense as the opponent.
“After the tornado hit up there, it was really a focus to help out where we could,” Arnold said. “Our staff went up there and we did help in Petal. We thought it was a perfect opportunity to get involved, to help financially.
“William Carey has a great program and it should be a good, competitive game. At the same time, it’s a chance to give back to the community. That’s the big focus.”
The William Carey baseball team didn’t play a game at its own ballpark, Milton Wheeler Field, during the first month of the season due to tornado damage. The Crusaders moved around, playing games at Petal High School, Pete Taylor Park, Jones County Junior College and Pearl River Community College.
The Crusaders finally played a genuine home game on March 3 against Loyola-New Orleans.
Despite the lack of a home field early in the season, William Carey sits at 25-10 overall headed into Tuesday’s exhibition contest.
General admission tickets are on sale for $7 at BiloxiShuckers.com and at the MGM Park ticket office. All net ticket proceeds will go to William Carey for the school’s relief efforts.
“We’ll hopefully do a check presentation later in the season,” Arnold said. “Hopefully, we’ll get a lot of support. We’ve had a pretty good response in pre-sale. We expect a pretty good turnout.”
William Carey will trade in its aluminum bats for the wooden version for the exhibition game.
The Shuckers won’t officially announce their new roster until Tuesday, but at least one new member of the team revealed that he will be joining the Double-A squad to start the 2017 season.
Shortstop Mauricio Dubon announced on Twitter Monday that he will be playing in Biloxi this year. He was acquired in December of 2016 through a trade with the Red Sox. The speedy Dubon split time between Single-A and Double-A last season, batting .323 with six homers and 69 RBIs. He was successful on 30 of 37 steal attempts.
Who: William Carey vs. Biloxi Shuckers
When: 6:35 p.m., Tuesday
Where: MGM Park, Biloxi
Tickets: $7 general admission