The annual alumni game for TCU baseball drew in a strong group of former players this year, but the alumni team was unable to defeat the varsity team, which won 8-6 in 10 innings.
While spectators got a sneak peak of this year’s team, the game was also a big opportunity for the current players to gain experience with professionals.
Several alumni who are currently on major or minor league rosters played in the game and offered advice to the team.
Alumni on this year’s list included Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jake Arrieta and St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter. Catcher Bryan Holaday, pitcher Matt Purke and second baseman Jerome Pena are few of the many Horned Frogs in the minor league system.
Arrieta said he saw the alumni game as a special time of year and he looked forward to it.
The one thing Arrieta said he missed the most about playing for TCU was the bond between teammates and the relationships players develop.
“I’ve carried [the relationships] out and continued on into now, and I think four or five of my best friends are guys that I’ve played at TCU with,” he said.
Arrieta said he also suggested current players enjoy their time at the university because it goes by fast.
“If you’re fortunate enough to play here for four years, it’s definitely something you need to cherish and enjoy every moment with your teammates,” he said.
Purke, who also used to pitch for TCU, left the program early after being drafted by the Washington Nationals in 2011. Coming back to play against the team before the season starts helps get the players prepared, he said.
“We have the atmosphere of the game and know what we’re expected to do each day and get ready for games,” Purke said.
He said it is good for the team to see live competition before the season officially starts.
Redshirt junior pitcher Kaleb Merck said he learned a lot by watching Purke play Saturday.
Merck said the current players were also friends with a lot of the alumni. He said even though the alumni were the opposition in the game, both teams continued to cheer on the other.
“They’re our competition, but in reality, TCU baseball is a family,” Merck said. “We’re a big group of friends, and they root us on no matter what.”