Third year head coach Steve Owens has changed the trajectory of the Rutgers baseball program and now some much needed improvements are being made to support the team’s forward progress. Rutgers announced on Tuesday evening that facility upgrades for Bainton Field are set to be executed in time for the 2023 season.
As a Big Ten member school, Bainton Field woefully lags behind other conference foes. While it has its comforts, it doesn’t have the features that a power five program needs to be competitive. Thankfully, the Rutgers administration is proving once again that they are fully committed to big time athletics.
Lights will be installed, allowing the Scarlet Knights to finally be able to host night games. It was only four seasons ago that Rutgers lost a game to Iona at home when it was called after eight innings due to darkness. Having flexibility to have night games and also attract more fans will be a welcomed change. It will also open up more possibilities to have home games air live on the Big Ten Network. All of these factors help grow the program.
In addition, a scoreboard with video capabilities will be replacing the current scoreboard in right field to add to the fan experience.
“We are extremely excited to be adding lights and a video board to enhance our baseball playing facilities,” head coach Steve Owens said. ”This will allow us tremendous flexibility for practice and games year-round as well as providing our growing fan base a much better experience to watch Big Ten baseball.”
The last facility upgrade for the program was when the Fred Hill Training Complex was completed in 2017. Named after the legendary baseball coach at Rutgers, the 22,500 square foot facility houses state-of-the-art pitching machines, six batting cages, bullpen mounds and a full turf infield. It is shared by both the baseball and softball programs, which has become essential for them to have a dedicated practice facility year round.
Rutgers baseball is having its best season in years, which helped generate momentum to get these scheduled upgrades underway. The Scarlet Knights are 37-12 overall this season and currently in first place in the Big Ten standings with a 16-5 record. They lost just the second series in conference play of the season this past weekend as second place Maryland took two of three at Bainton Field. RU has one more Big Ten series remaining on the road at Michigan on May 19-21. If they sweep, they’ll at worst claim a share of the regular season title with the Terps, who host Michigan this weekend before finishing at Purdue.
Regardless of how the regular season finishes, Rutgers is in line to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since joining the league in 2014. In addition, they are in very good shape to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007.
The Scarlet Knights are back in action on Friday for a three-game series with Bowling Green.
Rutgers baseball is the latest program on the banks that is on the rise. Getting facility upgrades, especially the lights, show a commitment in the program and gives Owens more tools to be able to sell to recruits. Better days are here for the baseball team, but better days are also ahead.