Yale baseball will never forget two of its own.
On April 27, the Athletics Department unveiled the Burnat-Grass Complex, a hitting facility, named in honor of Eli pitchers Kyle Burnat ’05 and Nicholas Grass ’05.
Burnat and Grass were two of the four Yale students who died after their sports utility vehicle crashed into a jackknifed tractor-trailer Jan. 17 on Interstate 95. Andrew Dwyer ’05 and Sean Fenton ’04 also died in the accident.
In a dedication ceremony before the Yale-Dartmouth baseball game Sunday, Athletics Director Tom Beckett thanked the donors.
“Yale baseball will be dedicated to the memory of Kyle and Nick not so much in wins and losses, but in how we play the game,” he said.
Bulldog head coach John Stuper spoke about Burnat and Grass.
“Every single Yale player that steps foot in here will know the story of Nick and Kyle — how special they will always be to Yale baseball,” he said.
Both Burnat and Grass’ fathers, Lawrence Burnat and Bill Grass, attended the event and formally unveiled the sign of the facility.
Construction on the complex, which is located behind legendary Yale Field, began in the fall of 2002. Athletics Director of Capital Projects Jack Merrill credited assistant baseball coach Bill Asermely for contributing ideas to the project.
The facility is 215 feet by 45 feet, consisting of three sections — long toss, soft toss and short toss areas. Unlike traditional batting cages that can support two players, the Burnat-Grass Complex can serve as a practice facility for up to seven athletes.
“The whole project, including the landscaping preparation, the artificial turf and the general cleaning-up and sprucing of the area, cost $70,000,” Merrill said. “The end result is far superior to what we had expected. It is one of the best hitting complexes in the area.”
Merrill said the facility turned out to be a fitting tribute to the two Eli pitchers.
“We transformed an underused area into a super hitting complex that was worthy of being dedicated to Kyle Burnat and Nick Grass,” Merrill said.