LEXINGTON, S.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) – The Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission (LCRAC) and the Big South Conference have entered into an agreement to host the 2016-18 Big South Conference Baseball Championships in Lexington, S.C., it was announced today at a press conference at the Lexington County Baseball Stadium. The ballpark will serve as the host venue for the eight-team, double-elimination tournament that will determine the Big South's automatic bid recipient to the NCAA Championship. The 2016 event, which is presented by Hardee's, will be contested May 24-28.
LCRAC is the first-ever true neutral entity to host the Big South Baseball Championship, as the league's postseason event had previously been hosted by the conference membership either on-campus or at a local facility within its community. This new mutually beneficial arrangement gives the Big South Conference a neutral site for its tournament within the league's footprint of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, while providing a notable event with national coverage to Lexington County Stadium. The Big South Championship game on Saturday, May 28 will be televised live on ESPNU for the first time.
The 2,573-seat Lexington County Baseball Stadium opened in May of 2015 and is home to the Lexington County Blowfish, the 2015 Coastal Plain League Organization of the Year. The stadium features dimensions linked to four of the classic major league ballparks of today. To the right field foul pole is 302-feet (Fenway Park), straightaway centerfield is 394-feet (Wrigley Field), to the left field foul pole is 318-feet (Yankee Stadium), and from home plate to the backstop is 55-feet (Dodger Stadium).
"When building the new Lexington County Baseball Stadium, our goal was to utilize this beautiful collegiate baseball park year-round by reaching out and securing event opportunities like this great tournament," stated LCRAC Executive Director Randy Gibson. "By working with Shanahan Sports Management, this will enable us to showcase Lexington County to visitors from all across the Southeast and the nation."
"We are delighted to find not only a fine location, but a true partner willing and able to help make our Baseball Championship into an event bigger than just a series of games," added Big South Conference Commissioner Kyle Kallander. "Between the level of competition demonstrated by our teams and the level of hospitality shown by our hosts, we know the Big South and the LCRAC will put on a great show."
Single-day tickets will be available for $10 and will grant access to all games held that day. Tournament books may be purchased for $50 and will grant access to all games for the duration of the event. Students with valid ID from a Big South member institution will be able to purchase tickets for $5 per day. Available seating areas include field level box, home plate grandstand and general admission. Advanced tickets are on sale at the "Blowfish on Main" Store, 101 East Main Street, Lexington, S.C. For additional ticket information, visit www.bigsouthsports.com, www.blowfishbaseball.com or www.lcrac.com, or call 803-254-3474.
The 2016 Big South Baseball Championship will hold 10 games over its first three days, May 24-26, with live television coverage on the Big South Network. Game broadcasts for May 27 (anywhere from 2-4 games as needed) will be shown on ESPN3. The "Winner-Take-All" Championship Game on the final day (Saturday, May 28) will air nationally at noon on ESPNU.
Big South baseball was the No. 10 rated conference in Division I in 2015, and two teams (Radford and Coastal Carolina) qualified for the NCAA Championship for the third consecutive year and eighth time in league history. The conference has reached the Super Regionals twice and has had a No. 1 seed four times. The 2016 season begins Friday, Feb. 19, and the Big South has four teams (Coastal Carolina, Liberty, Radford, Winthrop) receiving Top 25 consideration with the Chanticleers nationally-ranked in four polls. The league also features two preseason All-Americans in Campbell's Cole Hallum and Coastal Carolina's Michael Paez. Fans can follow Big South baseball on Twitter at @BigSouthBase as well as online at www.BigSouthSports.com.
ABOUT THE BIG SOUTH CONFERENCE (www.BigSouthSports.com)
Founded in 1983, the Big South Conference has matured into a competitive leader in college athletics, actively pursuing excellence on the field of play and in the classroom. For more than 30 years, the League's growing presence as an NCAA Division I athletic conference is evident by athletic accomplishments on the national stage, innovative marketing and media partnerships, increased television packages and quality athletic competition while intentionally fostering the academic, personal, social, athletic and leadership development of its student-athletes. Comprised of 11 member institutions sharing a common geographic region and similar academic values and purposes, the Big South Conference's institutions -- Campbell University, Charleston Southern University, Coastal Carolina University, Gardner-Webb University, High Point University, Liberty University, Longwood University, Presbyterian College, Radford University, UNC Asheville and Winthrop University -- have a remarkable history of achievement through the League's 19 championship sports in addition to the academic success of its more than 4,000 student-athletes. The Big South Conference: Developing Leaders Through Athletics.
ABOUT LEXINGTON COUNTY RECREATION AND AGING COMMISSION (www.lcrac.com)
The Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission, a special purpose district, was created by the General Assembly in 1968 to provide recreation and leisure service within Lexington County. The mission of the Recreation & Aging Commission is to improve the quality of life for all citizens through creative and meaningful life enriching experiences. This is done through the provisions of program services, facilities and education. The Commission, through Sports Tourism, provides a positive economic impact for county businesses by generating in excess of 10,000 hotel room nights a year. Our facilities and complexes are not only designed to provide recreational opportunities for the citizens of Lexington County, but to host Regional, State and National tournaments. To learn more about the Lexington County Recreation & Aging Commission fans can follow us on Twitter at @LCRAC as well as online at www.lcrac.com.