Playing catch-up in baseball facilities, the University of Richmond intends to enhance Pitt Field this offseason. Indoor batting cages down the left-field line and seating beyond the right-field fence are planned.
The Spiders currently have an uncovered batting cage down the third-base line. A structure is scheduled to be built in that area for two full batting cages, and will also provide space for pitching sessions and infield drills.
Pitt Field’s bleachers on both sides of home plate seat 600, but fans often choose to congregate and watch from the Robins Center parking lot beyond the outfield fence. UR plans to construct an entrance to the facility near right field, and also seating adjacent to that location, along with a grass berm from which games can be observed.
UR has not announced upgrades details or the cost, much of which is expected to be financed through fundraising. The school’s goal is for the improvements to be completed by March 1, which is about the time the Spiders are projected to open their home schedule.
“We are excited about this,” said Tracy Woodson, Richmond’s coach since 2013. “You’re trying to stay up with the big programs, and they’re making [facility] additions every year. We’re trying to do this, and it does help recruiting.
“You can’t compete if you don’t [improve facilities].”
The Spiders, whose first baseball season was 1915, have advanced to eight NCAA tournaments, none since 2003.
An artificial surface, drainage system and padded walls were installed at Pitt Field during 2014 and the first few months of 2015, at a cost of approximately $1 million. A new scoreboard and sound system were added in 2008.
The Spiders have played home games at Pitt Field since March of 1975. The facility was named in honor of Malcolm U. Pitt, who coached the Spiders baseball team for 37 years and guided the basketball team for 19 seasons. Pitt also was the UR director of athletics for 25 years.