The University of Kentucky offered a glimpse into the future over the weekend, as many members of the baseball program got their first looks at a new ballpark.
Kentucky has been planning a new $49 million ballpark to replace Cliff Hagan Stadium. The baseball program played its final games at Cliff Hagan Stadium this spring, and has anticipated that the 2019 season will be its first at the new on-campus ballpark that is being built near football’s Kroger Field.
There is still some construction work unfolding at the ballpark, but Kentucky had an opportunity on Saturday to showcase some areas of the facility. Judged by their reactions, members of the baseball program believe that the new ballpark will give Kentucky a facility that easily measures up in comparison to the venues used by competing programs. More from WYMT.com:
The construction process is still ongoing on the $49 million stadium, but head coach Nick Mingione was able to take his team into the team areas of the stadium for the first time on Saturday.
As the team entered its new state-of-the-art locker room, there were lots of high-fives, big smiles and vocal approval from the entire squad.
“After going to five SEC stadiums last season, this is better than all of them,” sophomore pitcher Carson Coleman said. “(The coaches) kept saying it, and of course you have to wait until you see it, but this is insane. This place is unbelievable. It’s going to be great for the program. It’s really awesome.”
The immediate benefits to the 2019 Wildcats are obvious. Hitting and pitching areas under the stadium. Training rooms that will rival any school in the country. And many, many other advantages that the Kentucky baseball program has never had.
The opening of the new ballpark will put an end to baseball’s decades-long run at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Cliff Hagan Stadium opened in 1969 as the Bernie A. Shively Sports Center, and was later renovated at several points over the years.
Rendering courtesy University of Kentucky.
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