HARRISONBURG, Va. -- With baseball’s formal fall practice season complete, James Madison will begin removal and installation this week on a new FieldTurf synthetic turf system at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park incorporating a new design.
“Similar to our recent turf project at Bridgeforth Stadium for football, this project at baseball’s Eagle Field presents a fresh look for that program,” Bourne said. “Baseball is unique from many sports in the opportunity to apply some creativity and nuance. This redesign accomplishes that while emphasizing the new brand elements that we launched in early 2017. The update also ensures safety and maximum performance for our student-athletes by providing them with a state-of-the-art turf.”
Carolina Green Corp. will serve as the general contractor to install the new FieldTurf surface. JMU will install FieldTurf’s new DoublePlay Natural baseball system, developed using a scientific approach to analyze ball-surface interaction never before used in the industry Through the use of advanced high-tech motion video cameras, FieldTurf was able to translate over 300 videos and 70,000 photos into real-life data. The result was an artificial turf surface that plays the most like a natural baseball field to be found in the industry.
“We are excited about this new turf for Eagle Field,” Head Coach Marlin Ikenberry said. “Any time you can make upgrades to your facility, it feels like a fresh start and injects new energy into your program. The design is attractive and looks great, but more importantly, it will allow our student-athletes to excel while also protecting their safety and well-being. We are grateful to the administration for their commitment to JMU baseball and can’t wait to compete on it.”
Like many baseball facilities, the turf design will feature green shading in certain areas to provide subtle design elements rather than a solid green look. The infield has alternating shades of green stripes stretching from home plate towards second base. The outfield has a similar system except with wider stripes. The shading is interrupted in centerfield to incorporate a large JMU logo in the same shading colors. The infield, pitcher’s mound, batter’s boxes and warning track are all turf in a consistent shade of brown. The JMU Athletics logo sits behind home plate in full color while the Colonial Athletic Association logo appears on both base lines according to the league’s facility branding standards.
Carolina Green's other projects with JMU Athletics have included: the 2019 replacement of the Zane Showker Field surface at Bridgeforth Stadium, field hockey's Desso Sportillux MF Turf system, the softball Desso iDNA X outfield turf and bullpen areas, the Hilltopper infield system at softball and the recent renovation to the softball practice field adjacent to Veterans Memorial Park. They have also completed multiple campus recreation projects.
Work on the baseball turf begins in late October and is scheduled for completion in December. The baseball turf is being replaced for the first time since the facility opened in March of 2010. Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park debuted in 2010. Other recent enhancements have included a scoreboard replacement, converting outfield fencing to purple outfield padding and replacing the center field batter’s eye.
JMU baseball’s first contest on the new surface will be a four-game weekend series against Quinnipiac Feb. 21-23, 2020.