By Aaron Siple, Sports Information Director
If you have been to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s (Ariz.) in the last couple of weeks you may have noticed there has been quite the operation going on north of the athletics facilities and what you have seen is the beginning of ERAU’s Baseball Facility.
As a part of the university’s effort to recruit great students and enhance the total student experience, Embry-Riddle is expanding its athletics program to include Men’s Baseball in the fall of 2020. The Eagles hired Geoff Fox, the 2019 NCAA DIII’s Assistant Coach of the Year, as the program’s first head coach in August.
“I am very confident we will create and develop a program that will consistently be at the top of the Cal-Pac Conference as well as regionally and nationally, all while maintaining a 100 percent graduation rate for our student-athletes,” Fox said. “My staff and I are beyond ready and excited to hit the ground running bringing in not just great players, but great people into this program and institution. This is truly a special time to be at Embry-Riddle!”
The estimated $5 million facility itself will be completed in three phases. The Eagles are currently in phase one which will include the field and surrounding infrastructure. Phase two plans to include batting cages, lights, and seating for the public. The final phase looks to include restrooms, locker rooms for the team, storage and an auxiliary sports medicine location. The Eagles are looking for donors to help in the completion of phases two and three.
As for phase one, here are some of the details that you might want to know. The playing surface will be natural with blue grass and a perennial rye mix turf. The infield will be provided by Stabilizer Solutions who will use their infield mix called “Ballyard Brown,” this state-of-the-art mix will make the infield one of the premier amateur infields in the southwest. Each dugout will have access to two pitching mounds in their bullpens, which will follow along the fence line.
The field will be symmetrical, meaning that the fence line in right field will be the same distance from home as the fence in left field. As for everyone’s favorite attribute of a ballpark: the distance from home plate to the fence. The right/left field dimensions are 330’, in the left/right-center gaps it is 375’ and center field will be the deepest at 400’.
Construction is in full swing on the Eagles newest facility, so it will not be long before the Eagles, and Coach Fox, will be on the field preparing to play their first NAIA ball game.