STARKVILLE, Miss. – Three-time Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher Roy Oswalt will be the guest speaker for the 2014 Mississippi State baseball First Pitch Banquet, head coach John Cohen announced Monday. The event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, at 11:30 a.m. CT in the Palmeiro Center on campus.
Advanced tickets are on sale now for $12 at HailState.com/tickets or by calling 1-888-GO-DAWGS. Tickets can be purchased on the day of the event for $17 at the Palmeiro Center front entrance. For additional information, contact the MSU Ticket Office at (662) 325-2600.
A 13-year veteran on the mound, Oswalt has pitched for Houston (2001-2010), Philadelphia (2010-2011), Texas (2012) and most recently Colorado (2013). The Weir, Miss., native was a National League All-Star from 2005-07 with the Astros, and has finished in the top six in NL Cy Young voting six times in his career. Oswalt led the Astros to their only World Series appearance in 2005, when he was named NLCS Most Valuable Player.
Previous First Pitch speakers read like a who's who of Bulldog baseball history. Last year, Major League Baseball player Tyler Moore joined a group which includes Jeff Brantley, Will Clark, Dave "Boo" Ferriss, Dave Klipstein, Alex Grammas, Paul Maholm, Burke Masters, Joel Matthews, Mitch Moreland, Jonathan Papelbon, Jay Powell, Jim Robinson, Nat Showalter, Bobby Thigpen and Cohen.
Best-selling author and MSU alumnus John Grisham and MLB Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, the longtime manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, have also served in the guest speaker role.
This season's festivities start at 11:30 a.m. in the Griffis Boardroom with a hamburger/hot dog lunch, with fans receiving a 2014 schedule poster and schedule card at the event. At the same time, attendees can take part in an autograph session with members of the 2014 ballclub in the adjoining Palmeiro Center. The First Pitch program, emceed by head coach John Cohen, follows at 12:45 p.m. and features a formal introduction of the Diamond Dawgs and staff as well as a speaking appearance by Oswalt.
Following the guest speaker, fans can stroll over to Dudy Noble Field for a 2:15 p.m. intrasquad scrimmage. The seven-inning affair, which will be open to the public, will act as an Opening Day dress rehearsal and will conclude fan day.
State, which was ranked No. 2 in the 2014 Collegiate Baseball preseason poll, begins its 124th season with a 4 p.m. Opening Day lid-lifter against Hofstra at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14. For more information on the event, follow the team on social media by searching for “HailStateBB” on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. All-Access coverage of the program can also be found on FanCred.