DURHAM, N.C. – Jack Coombs Field, home to Duke University baseball since 1931, has undergone significant upgrades to the playing surface and field layout that were completed over the weekend.
Now covering the entire field is a state-of-the-art synthetic turf installed by AstroTurf. The AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60H will allow Duke year-round playability on its home field along with low maintenance and an improved drainage system.
"We're excited to be out here, and I'm really thankful to [Vice President and Director of Athletics] Dr. Kevin White and [Executive Vice President] Dr. Tallman Trask for making this happen for us," said head coach Sean McNally, who is now entering his sixth year as Duke's head coach. "It's a great statement from our university and our athletic department that we care about baseball and that it's important to us."
Also included in the field renovations were adjustments to the field dimensions, lighting and installation of new fencing. Among the changes to the field dimensions were the relocation of home plate and adjustments to the outfield wall.
"I think it'll be good for us," McNally said. "It'll be an adjustment playing our home games in the midweek here and then playing our weekends at the [Durham Bulls Athletic Park]. I think we've got the best of both worlds there with two terrific facilities. They're both different, so we'll have to adjust and get used to it, but we try to pride ourselves on being able to play anywhere. We've got a very young club with some guys who have really bought into that, so we'll adjust and we'll figure it out."The Blue Devils practiced on the field for the first time on Monday, Nov. 22. The team, in its individual practice period, ran defensive drills, took batting practice and threw bullpen sessions.
Jack Coombs Field, located on the West Campus of Duke University, has been home to the Blue Devils since 1931. The field and surrounding facilities have undergone numerous renovations over the past decade, including the construction of an enclosed, all-weather hitting and pitching facility.
Duke baseball, which in 2010 struck a partnership with the Durham Bulls that allowed the team to play its weekend series at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, will continue to use the DBAP for weekend matchups in 2011. All home midweek games will be played at Jack Coombs Field.