Duane Banks Field at the University of Iowa will have a new look for the upcoming college baseball season. First year Hawkeye coach Rick Heller says a new artificial playing surface was installed at the end of fall practice.
“Which is going to allow us to get outside earlier and stay outside longer in the fall and not have to deal as much with the weather,” Heller says. He says they’s also had some work done to the dugouts and new backstops installed.
It is the first of a two phase project that will be completed prior to the 2015 season. “We’re in the process of trying to raise some funds to finished the turf off in the outfield and then also when we do that we want to put a new outfield fence up with a scoreboard and video board,” Heller says. He says the improvements would bring them up to the level of the rest of the Big Ten.
Heller says the artificial surface will allow the Hawkeyes to practice outside more often and it will mean fewer rainouts. “In Iowa a lot of days — even when the snow is gone — you have those days when the frost breaks and you have mud puddles everywhere on your field and it’s nice enough to play. We will be able to play with the turf no matter what the situation is,” Heller says. He says they may even be able to play a few weeks earlier if the weather permits.
Iowa’s first game on the new turf is scheduled for March 19th.