Backed by favorable weather and the quality work of Burnside Services Incorporated (BSI) of Navasota, in conjunction with Ryan Sanders Sports Services of Round Rock, Sam Houston State’s 183,040-square foot AstroTurf playing surface at Don Sanders Stadium is complete.
The new field, combing the look, feel and performance of a traditional grass and clay diamond, will require little maintenance and allow play in virtually any weather condition. A season ago, the Bearkats were pushed to nine doubleheaders and had two game cancellations.
The Don Sanders field turf project includes 105,340-square feet of green turf, 12,750-square feet of skin area and a warning track of 19,560-square feet. The entire surface is made up entirely of turf, including areas of the infield, warning track and foul territory where dirt used to lie.
The $1.4 million project, which took roughly 2 ½ months to complete, features logos painted in foul territory as well as the official ‘SH Paw’ logo placed boldly in center field.
“We are extremely thankful for our partnership with Burnside Services as well as Ryan Sanders, who have each played an integral role in the latest upgrades to our facility,” Bobby Williams, director of athletics said. “This project could also have not been possible without generous gifts from an exceptional group as well as the support of our university president, Dana. G. Hoyt, university enhancement and numerous others.”
The process began on Sept. 23 with the digging up of the natural grass and dirt playing surface. From there, a layer of dirt was placed down and leveled followed by the piece-by-piece installation of AstroTurf.
Opened in February 2006, Don Sanders Stadium is recognized as one of the best NCAA Division I collegiate baseball facilities in the region and is the envy of the Southland Conference. In addition to the stadium, the $5.5 million facility includes spacious dressing areas, indoor hitting cages, lights and coaching offices.
In 2013, Sam Houston alumni Don Sanders and Bud Haney teamed up to bring a state-of-the-art video scoreboard to the stadium, elevating the fans’ experience.
Since the opening of Don Sanders Stadium, Sam Houston’s baseball teams have made six appearances in the NCAA regionals and won the Southland Conference regular season title three times in the last four years.
After beginning the 2016 season Feb. 19-21 at Louisiana-Lafayette, Sam Houston opens the home slate with seven straight games beginning with UTSA on Feb. 23. The Kats play a single-game against Texas Tech the following night before hosting Oklahoma for a three-game set Feb. 24-26. Sam Houston closes out the home stretch with Baylor on March 1 and Rice on March 2.