The new baseball and softball complex at SHSU will finally get its grand debut on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. when the Bearkats take on Texas Southern University.
Opening day at the ballpark promises to be a historic one as the Bearkats host the first night game ever in the history of SHSU baseball. President Gaertner will toss the first pitch to begin the game, and students will be given free posters featuring the members and schedule of the Bearkat baseball team.
“This is going to be a historic opening for SHSU,” Chris Park, SHSU Athletics External Operations Coordinator said. “We want a packed house.”
The new stadium boasts a seating capacity of 1,163 people, including a section for overflow along the right field line. The field itself stretches to 330 feet in left and right fields and expands all the way to 400 feet in center field. The new facility also includes locker rooms for both baseball and softball teams, new coaches offices and a training facility, which is shared with the softball team.
“We actually have a locker room now,” freshman pitcher Eric Mingle said. “The new field is just better in every aspect.”
One of the less obvious but most exciting aspects of the field is the addition of lights, allowing the team to play games at night.
“The old field [Holleman Field] didn’t even have lights,” Park said. “Now they’ll be able to play night games. They’ve never been able to do that before.”
From the playing aspect, the new field is top-notch. According to Park, it’s the top field in the Southland Conference.
“It’s definitely a pitcher’s ballpark,” Mingle said. “The new grass should put a good bounce on the ball. It’s just a better ballpark in every aspect. I call it the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Not only is the complex pleasing for the players, but fans should be pleasantly surprised at the size and quality of the stadium as well. The stadium holds three columns of chair-back seating in the middle with two columns of bench seating on each side.
“It’s just a beautiful field,” Park said. “Night baseball, along with the new field, will be a great experience for our players and fans.”
Students will be able to get into games for free with their student ID but only 325 seats will be available in the student section. After that, students can still get in for free but will be directed to the overflow area.
“If you want to get into the student section, come get them early,” Park advised.
Starting at 8 a.m. on Feb. 6, students can pick up their free ticket for the reserved student section at the Student Activities office on the third floor of the LSC or at the Athletic Offices at the south end of Bowers Stadium. Students may also get tickets for the entire weekend series against Texas Southern as well as tickets to the game against Texas A&M. The Bearkats will host the Aggies at their new field on Feb. 14.