The University of Kentucky has selected the playing surface for its new ballpark, announcing this week that it will use an AstroTurf field.
According to an announcement, Kentucky plans to use an artificial surface from AstroTurf’s Diamond Series product line. The baseball’s programs current home, Cliff Hagan Stadium, uses a natural playing surface in all areas except for foul territory, where synthetic turf is in place.
Kentucky made the decision a few years ago to tweak the field at Cliff Hagan Stadium, and took note of the results as it planned the specifics of its upcoming ballpark. According to university officials, the versatility offered by an AstroTurf surface was a major factor in its decision. More from Lexington Herald-Leader:
“The synthetic tends to be more versatile in terms of the amount of hours you can be on it with any number of activities,” said Kevin Saal, UK’s executive associate athletic director who oversees internal operations. “When you’re dealing with a natural field, there’s a threshold of activity that you can have on that field, and be able to keep it pristine and first class for your competition season.”
About two years ago, the foul-ball territory at Cliff Hagan Stadium was replaced with synthetic turf. That area has proven to be more durable and versatile than natural grass, which is what led UK to choose a synthetic field over a natural one. UK’s football field, installed in 2015 by Vescio’s SportsFields, is also synthetic.
The new baseball field — AstroTurf’s Diamond Series — is made entirely of synthetic grass except the pitcher’s mound, which will be made from clay. The new field will be similar to the University of Louisville’s — although provided by a different company — on which UK played in this year’s NCAA Tournament super regional.
Kentucky broke ground on the ballpark on March and anticipates a completion at some point during the fall of 2018, allowing for it to be ready for the 2019 NCAA regular season.