March 8, 2012
MERION STATION, Pa. - After 53 seasons of playing home games away from campus, the Saint Joseph's baseball team will play the first game at its new ballpark on Friday, March 9. The Hawks, who last played on campus in 1958, will take up residence on the James J. Maguire '58 Campus beginning with Friday's game against the Iona Gaels. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.
Audio and video of the game will be streamed live and free of charge via Hawks All-Access, beginning at 2:45 p.m.
"This is a truly exciting time for our program," said head coach Fritz Hamburg. "The student-athletes and coaching staff are eager to play in our new park and we are honored to bring intercollegiate varsity baseball back to Hawk Hill."
"This new facility will be an extraordinary benefit not just to the student-athletes but to the baseball program and the entire SJU community as a whole," said Director of Athletics Don DiJulia. "After 53 years of playing 'home games' off campus, this field is a tribute to all those former student-athletes and coaches who sacrificed so much to compete with pride in a Hawk uniform."
Prior to the game, Saint Joseph's University Interim President John Smithson, a 1968 graduate and Saint Joseph's Baseball Hall of Famer, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch to his former catcher, Ed Martini, help usher in the new era of Saint Joseph's baseball.
"Having this field on campus has been a dream for countless years," Smithson said. "We're thrilled that our players will have the full experience of having their fellow students and fans right here with them, cheering them on to success."
The new field will feature an industry-standard, state-of-the-art AstroTurf 3D GameDay Grass surface, the same synthetic surface in use at Major League stadiums such as Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
The Hawks will also enjoy the use of a new clubhouse and brand new batting cages located next to the field. The park will feature elevated bullpens as well, complete with benches and phones connected to the dugouts.
Fans will be able to sit in bleachers behind home plate, or they can take in the action along the foul lines or on the hill beyond the outfield wall.
"The ballpark will have a lot of character and charm," said Hamburg. "It will be a great place for our players to play and for our fans to watch a ballgame."
An official dedication ceremony for both the baseball and softball facilities will be held on Saturday, May 5; the baseball team plays host to George Washington at 1:00 p.m., while the softball team will play its regular season finale against St. Bonaventure at noon.