The sixteen host sites for this spring's NCAA Baseball Regionals were announced on Sunday afternoon. Over the next week, those sixteen cities will witness some of the best teams, players, coaches, and fans that college baseball has to offer. With that in mind, here's a glance at each of those facilities, the history behind them, and what they mean to the teams that play there, both in pictures and in words.
Turchin Stadium on the campus of Tulane University
Tulane's Turchin Stadium has been home to the Green Wave for fifteen seasons. The Wave has won over 75% of the games played on the natural grass at Turchin since it's opening in 1991, including postseason victories in the 1992 Metro Conference Tournament and the 2001 NCAA New Orleans Regional. The grandstand area seats about 2,500 spectators, while an additional 1,700 seats can be found down the foul lines, bringing total capacity to about 4,200. The field measures 325 down the lines, 370 in the power alleys, and 400 feet to center field. The eight-foot high fence in left and right fields meets a twelve-foot high wall in center field. The stadium is named in honor of Robert and Lillian Turchin. The couple from Miami played a huge part in the drive to construct the facility in 1990. Robert Turchin is a 1943 graduate of Tulane University and a World War II veteran.
Disch-Falk Field on the campus of the University of Texas
Disch-Falk Field has been the home of Texas Longhorn baseball for thirty years. The spring of 1975 saw the facility's first action as UT swept an opening-day doubleheader from St. Mary's on their way to a national title later that season. Though there are actually just 5,000 chairback seats and capacity is officially listed at 6,649, Disch-Falk can seat well over 8,000 fans on gameday. The AstroTurf surface, which makes up both the playing field and warning track, was reinstalled about six years ago. The facility measures 340 feet down the left field line, 325 down the right field line, and 400 feet to center field. The stadium is named for former Texas skippers Billy Disch and Bibb Falk who combined to win nearly 1,000 games from 1911 to 1967.
Swayze Field on the campus of the University of Mississippi
Swayze Field has been home to the Rebels for seventeen seasons. A crowd of over 1,000 fans braved bitter cold temperatures on opening day in 1989 to see Mississippi sweep a doubleheader from Cumberland University, the first-ever win for the Rebels in the new facility. The stadium has nearly 3,000 theater-style seats to accomodate the fans, and a right field seating area was added for students about twelve years ago. The entire outfield area has since been revamped. Picnic tables and barbeque stands were constructed for fans in time for the 2000 baseball season. The facility is named in honor of Tom Swayze, a former Rebel player and head coach. Swayze won over 360 games during his 21-year career at UM and led the Rebels to three College World Series appearances and four SEC championships during his tenure in Oxford.
Baylor Ballpark on the campus of Baylor University
Baylor Ballpark was ranked as the nation's third-best college baseball stadium by Baseball America after a 2003 survery of college coaches. Since constructed with its beautiful red bricks and exposed green steel beams in 1999, the facility has played host to NCAA Regionals in both 1999 and 2000, as well as a Super Regional in 1999. Capacity is listed at 5,000, and many of those fans can be accomodated in one of the ballpark's 3,200 chairback seats. In fact, 70% of the stadium's seats are covered by an awning, protecting the fans from both sun and rain. A new 13-by-16 foot video board was added for replays, highlights, and more in 2003, and the six-year old facility also houses coaches' offices, indoor hitting cages, dressing rooms for players and umpires, and an elevated terrace for fans down the right field line.
Goodwin Field on the campus of Cal State-Fullerton
Formerly known as Titan Field, Goodwin Field became the home of CSF baseball in 1992. Opening day that season saw the Titans sweep a doubleheader from Loyola Marymount. Cal State-Fullerton has won over 76% of the games played in the facility over the last thirteen seasons, including the first 22 in a row in 2003. Fullerton is 18-5 in NCAA postseason play at Goodwin Field, and the Titans have won the last five postseason tournaments played there. In addition to numerous postseason games over the last ten years, Goodwin Field has also played host to the annual Kia Baseball Bash each of the last six years. Stadium capacity increased to 3,500 in 2001 as part of a $3 million dollar project. The playing surface was completely renovated prior to the 2005 season, giving the field a smoother and more durable surface. In honor of Jerry and Merilyn Goodwin, the facility's name was changed during the 2000 season.
Coleman Field on the campus of Oregon State University
Goss Stadium at Coleman Field has played host to Oregon State baseball for nearly 100 years. The facility opened in 1907 and saw its most recent upgrade, a $2.3 million dollar project, in 1999. That project was due in large part to a gift from John and Eline Goss. Capacity of the stadium is currently 2,000. Lights were installed at Coleman Field in 2002, allowing for the first-ever night baseball games in the history of Oregon State University. Located near the center of the OSU campus, Coleman Field has seen the Beavers have one of the greatest seasons in school history this spring. After finishing four of the last five seasons with winning records, the Beavers made a huge statement in 2005. The squad went 41-9 in the regular season, including a 19-5 mark in PAC-10 play, good enough to earn the conference's regular season championship.
Russ Chandler Stadium on the campus of Georgia Tech
Located in downtown Atlanta, Russ Chandler Stadium has been the home of Georgia Tech baseball for over 70 years. The facility was originally constructed in 1930 using money from the football team's 1929 appearance in the Rose Bowl. Russ Chandler underwent a complete reconstruction in 2002 at a cost of nearly $10 million dollars. The stadium can now seat over 4,000 fans for baseball, about 25% of those in chairback seats behind home plate. Dimensions on the field are 328 feet in left field, 391 in left center, 400 to straightaway center field, 353 to right center, and 334 down the right field line. The deepest park of the park is located just to the left of center field and measures 409 feet. Over the years, Russ Chandler has played host to numerous ACC Tournaments, NCAA Regionals, and NCAA Super Regionals. The facility is named in honor of A. Russell Chandler III, a 1967 GT graduate who donated funds for the facility's remodeling in 1985.
McKethan Stadium on the campus of the University of Florida
More than one million fans have piled into Florida's McKethan Stadium over the past ten years to see a Gator ballclub that has won nearly 76% of its home games since 1988. The facility underwent a remodeling phase during that 1988 season after receiving a $2.4 million dollar contribution from Alfred A. McKethan. Since then, several upgrades have taken place, including the addition of 1,000 seats to the main grandstand, a complete upgrade to the natural grass playing surface, and the addition of seats along the left field line and behind the left field fence to bring capacity to 5,000. The left field wall sits 329 feet from home plate, left center 365, center 400, right center 375, and right field 325. The University of Florida has hosted a half-dozen NCAA Regionals over the past 17 seasons, and the Gators have ranked among the nation's top fifteen schools in terms of attendance in six of the last seven years.
Part II of this series coming later this week!
Special thanks to: tulanegreenwave.com, wavebaseball.com, texassports.com, olemisssports.com, baylorbears.com, titansports.org, osubeavers.com, ramblinwreck.com, and gatorzone.com
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