North Greenville U. plans multi-phase baseball complex

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Installation of artificial turf is the first phase of a multi-phase baseball stadium improvement and expansion project. Photo provided

North Greenville University’s new baseball complex will eventually include a new stadium and new residential space.

Phase one of the project includes a complete reworking of the playing surface of Ashmore Field, which is expected to cost $1.2 million. Funded by private donations, the first phase includes the installation of artificial turf with a dirt mound, new outfield fencing, backstop fencing, a scoreboard, a bullpen, and batting cages.

The school expects the new playing surface to be ready for the Crusaders’ first home game on Feb. 8, 2018.

Spartanburg’s Bea Dillard and an anonymous donor made the lead gifts to begin the project. The new turf field will be named Ray Dillard Field, in memory of Dillard’s husband, who played baseball for the City of Spartanburg for many years.

“North Greenville University has the reputation of providing students with a quality Christian education, and I want to ensure the next generation of athletes have the same opportunity,” Dillard said in a press release.

“We’re bringing a similar concept to what the City of Greenville used for the Greenville Drive park in downtown Greenville’s West End,” Assistant Athletic Director and Crusader Club Director Micah Sepko said. “We hope athletics will become the central hub for all student life activities.”

Future phases include a new 700-seat stadium and hospitality suite, new residential spaces, and a new wellness and outdoor recreational area, including a unique multi-level structure featuring glass on all sides to view the picturesque scenery of the baseball field and mountain ranges. The final phase will be renovation of the fieldhouse to include a players’ lounge and newly renovated locker room facilities.

North Greenville baseball won the Conference Carolinas tournament championship in 2014 and earned the program’s first trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

Since Coach Landon Powell’s arrival in May 2014, the Crusaders have compiled a record of 102-56, 53-19 mark at home. Last year, North Greenville went 21-1 at Ashmore Field.

“This is huge news for the North Greenville baseball program,” Powell said. “Our facility will be second to none at the D2 level.”

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