CHARLESTON, S.C. - CSU Ballpark will have a new playing surface for the 2017 baseball season.
Charleston Southern is in the process of installing a new playing surface in the outfield and along the foul territory on both base lines. The $250,000 project is set for completion in early September 2016, according to Charleston Southern baseball head coach Stuart Lake. The project will help CSU fix several key areas that affected the Bucs at the beginning of the 2016 spring season.
"The only part of our field that won't be touched is our infield grass and dirt," Lake said. "All the grass on the skirts of the field, the outfield; everything is being removed. We're going to do a complete overhaul of the 16-year-old field and just take it down really deep. They'll put in a new sand base, new drainage and a new sprinkler system. Then the sand-based sod that is really great for our area will be rolled out on top. It will be a whole new playing surface when it's done."
"This project shows a great commitment to CSU Baseball from the administration funding the resurfacing out of the school's plant fund," said CSU Assistant Athletic Director for Development Tyler Davis. "We did have some field issues last baseball season, but this will rectify those issues with the new sodding, new irrigation and new drainage being installed. This field and surface will be one of the best playing surfaces in the Big South."
The installation should not affect the Buccaneers fall practice schedule as they begin their preparations for the 2017 spring schedule. "We started looking at the installation process in the spring," said Lake. "We pushed it back because we didn't want to lose out on hosting tournaments during the summer because they are so vital to our recruiting process. We're looking at the field being done sometime after Labor Day. We're going to have about three or four weeks of conditioning and skills work and start team practice around September 19 and still be able to finish our fall practice schedule around the end of October/early November. The benefits of getting the field are well worth the early tradeoff in practice."
Lake and the Buccaneers will be able to show off the new playing surface during their annual Alumni Weekend scheduled for late October. "We're going to tie our Alumni Weekend all together this year and be able to show off the new field," Lake said. "We've got our World Series starting October 27, our golf tournament that Friday, our Alumni Home Run contest and batting practice under the lights and Alumni Game all happening late in October. It's exciting to see all the work happening here and we're excited to see this for our players."
"It's a very exciting time for CSU Athletics," said Davis. "We've got tons of opportunities ahead of us and beyond the field; another one in particular is the Singleton Baseball Complex that is in the middle of fundraising. We need an additional $725,000 for that project and looking for support from people who care about Chris and his mother Sharonda. If you're interested in supporting that project, please let us know how you want to get involved. I'm pleased to know that former players are stepping up, and the community of Charleston has continued to step up to get the word out for that campaign."
Carolina Green Athletic Field Construction is installing the new surface at CSU Ballpark.