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Mark Mulder attended MSU's first pitch event.

Mark Mulder attended MSU's first pitch event.

While March typically signifies the heating up of basketball action across the country, it also marks the beginning of the NCAA baseball season. With the familiar ping of aluminum bats being heard across the country, several programs are seeking to take advantage of rising popularity of the sport.

There are several departments from around the country that are creating “First Pitch” events and dinner for fans, staff and donors. These events typically include a highlight of former players, which in the case of Michigan State included legends such as Steve Garvey and Mark Mulder, a dinner and awards ceremony. The dinner is where the funds are primarily raised, with money being charged per plate in addition to silent auctions of baseball gear and trip opportunities.

These events serve as a direct way to connect with former baseball alumni and raise funds for the program. Typically held in early February to enable professional players a chance to come back to campus, the money raised here almost always will be restricted to the baseball program. However, this is a vital way raise awareness and build a solid connection with alumni and fans.

Other examples of baseball first pitch events were held at Virginia Tech, Utah, and Temple just to name a few.

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