BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU Baseball is set to host a Military Appreciation Weekend at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field this weekend as the Tigers open their 2017 season.
Activities begin Friday at 12 p.m. when the Air Force will take on the Army in a game to precede LSU's opener at 7 p.m. against the Air Force.
LSU will then face the Army on Saturday, February 18 at 4 p.m. The Tigers will then take on the Air Force at 1 p.m. on Sunday to conclude the weekend.
Coach Paul Mainieri's appreciation for the military stems from family experience. His father served in the Army while his uncle was a bombardier in the Air Force during the Korean War. Also, from 1989 to 1994, Mainieri worked as the head baseball coach at the United State Air Force Academy.
One of the USAF's former players, Major Mike Kazlauksy, is now the head coach for the Air Force squad and will of course be in attendance for the weekend of events. Military observances will be held throughout the weekend as LSU plans to recognize the families of Baton Rouge law enforcement officers Brad Garafola and Matthew Gerald.
The family of Montrell Jackson will be honored as well when LSU takes on Maryland on Saturday, February 25, so that Jackson's wife, Trenisha, will be able to attend the event.
Below is a list of scheduled events for the weekend:
Friday, February 17
- 12 p.m. – Army vs. Air Force
- Pregame: Flyover by Air Force F-16s
- 7 p.m. – Air Force at LSU
- Pregame: Air Force Wings of Blue Parachute Team
- Ceremonial First Pitch: Brad Garafola Jr. – son of deceased East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Deputy, Brad Garafola Sr.
- National Anthem performed by the LSU Tiger Tenors
Saturday, February 18
- 4 p.m. – Army at LSU
- Pregame: Air Force Wings of Blue Parachute Team/Cannon Demonstration by LSU ROTC
- Ceremonial First Pitch: Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (Army West Point graduate, 1988)
- National Anthem performed by U.S. Army Sergeant Keegan Waldrop
- Top of 3rd Inning: LSU “Soldier Salute” to the cadets of the Army West Point baseball team
- 6th Inning: Recognition of Ray Reich, father of Army Major Stephen Reich, the all-time leader in pitching wins at West Point. Stephen Reich was a helicopter pilot killed during a rescue mission in Afghanistan in 2005.
- 7th Inning Stretch: Singing of God Bless America and salute to a World War II veteran
Sunday, February 19
- 1 p.m. – Air Force at LSU
- Pregame: Air Force Wings of Blue Parachute Team/Flyover by Air Force F-16s
- Ceremonial First Pitch: Ronnie Gerald, father of deceased Baton Rouge Police Officer, Matthew Gerald
- National Anthem: United States Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps
- Top of 3rd Inning: LSU “Soldier Salute” to the cadets of the U.S. Air Force Academy baseball team
- 7th Inning Stretch: Singing of God Bless America and salute to a 25-year Air Force veteran