Itchy Jones Stadium on Schedule

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By WSIL Sports

CARBONDALE -- The four million dollar renovation project to Abe Martin Field is on schedule. So, far the artificial playing field is in, the stadium lights are up, and the dugouts are built but not finished. The grandstand, press box, and security fence still need to be built before the beginning of the 2014 season.

"They tell us that everything is on schedule and it is going to be ready to go by opening day next spring," said SIU head baseball coach Ken Henderson. "We need some good weather and we don't need this snow and ice to stick around for long. We need some good, dry weather so we can get this thing done."

The Salukis' baseball team has already been practicing on the new field. As the renovation progresses, the coaches and players grow more anxious to play a game in their new stadium.

"The exciting thing for me is when the spring arrives and our players are back and the weather clears up, we are going to be on the field," said Henderson. "So, we don't have to worry about getting this thing dried out in January."

"It is making us really, really anxious to get out here and play on the field for the first time. We want to see how the turf plays and see what type of crowd we can bring out here."

The new Richard "Itchy" Jones Stadium will provide fans a great atmosphere to take in a Salukis baseball game and it will help the program in recruiting.

"It is going to be great for our fans and it is going to be great to play on," said Henderson. "There are so many great things about the facility but the number one thing behind the building of this thing is to help recruiting. We have got to get the right players and it has made a difference and it will continue to make a difference. The kids these days, this is important to them."

The first game set to be played on the newly renovated Abe Martin Field is scheduled for February 28th, 2014 when SIU hosts Northern Illinois. The Salukis hope to make the grand opening even sweeter with a win.

 

 

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