Aug. 20, 2010
CONWAY - Ground was broken in the spring, the foundation started to be laid in July and as September approaches, the new Coastal Carolina baseball/softball hitting and practice facility in on track to be used this fall.
The $1.2 million facility, built beyond the centerfield wall of Watson Stadium, will have space for a full, artificial turf practice infield (17,424 square feet) with as many as 12 hitting cages featuring a mechanical netting system that can be raised and lowered accordingly from the ceiling. The covered facility will allow both teams to practice in case of inclement weather, or just an alternate area to give the teams more area for individual instruction.
"This facility will have a significant impact on the growth of our program," said head softball coach Kelley Green. "To be able to train in a state-of-the-art facility will benefit the entire student-athlete experience. We are looking forward to the opportunity to have more efficient and productive practices without any weather restrictions."
This is the first of several planned upgrades to both the baseball and softball programs over the next several years, putting those facilities among the best in the nation upon completion.
"This hitting facility is going to among the very best in the entire nation," said head baseball coach Gary Gilmore. "The flexibility to have multiple things going on at once and the versatility of the building will allow us to get a lot accomplished on rare bad weather days. Once we get this done, it will be a huge recruiting coup for us."
The Coastal Carolina baseball program is coming off a banner season. The Chanticleers were the fourth overall seed in the 2010 NCAA Baseball Championship and, after being upset by eventual national champion South Carolina in the Super Regional, the Chants ended the season with the nation's second-best RPI. In addition, Coastal baseball won an NCAA-best 55 games in 2010, setting both school and Big South records in the process. The tandem of Rico Noel and Scott Woodward became just the second set of teammates ever to rank 1-2 in the NCAA for stolen bases in a season, while Anthony Meo and Cody Wheeler both ranked among the NCAA top five in pitching wins.
The softball program, winners of 11 total Big South Championships with four NCAA berths since 1998, is in the second year of the Kelley Green era. Last year, the Chants featured 2010 Big South Freshman of the Year, Jazmin Daigle.