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October 2003

Release Date: October 24, 2003

Angelo State Says 'Play Ball' with Addition of Baseball Next Academic Year

Angelo State University will add baseball to its men's athletics program and begin Lone Star Conference competition at Foster Field during the 2004-05 academic year.

In announcing the decision Friday, ASU Men's Athletic Director Jerry Vandergriff said the availability of Foster Field to serve as ASU's home park and the proximity to numerous collegiate baseball programs would allow ASU to initiate baseball at a modest cost.

Additionally, establishing baseball would satisfy one of the most frequent requests among ASU students and would provide more participation opportunities in intercollegiate sports, Vandergriff said.

"With the availability of Foster Field," Vandergriff said, "we are able to start a baseball program without having to make a capital investment in a stadium of collegiate quality. On top of that, our home stadium will be the best in the Lone Star Conference and a potential site for the LSC tournament."

Foster Field is home for the San Angelo Colts professional baseball team. Foster Field was built on 25 acres leased by the Texas State University System to the Colts. As part of the lease agreement, ASU was granted the right to use the field for baseball as long as Ram games did not conflict with the Colts home schedule. The only costs to ASU for stadium use would be for cleanup after the game and for utility costs for night games.

Colts President and Executive General Manager Harlan Bruha said, "The Colts professional baseball organization has had a great relationship with our neighbors, ASU. We are pleased that ASU is adding NCAA Division II baseball to their athletic program.

"Having a quality collegiate baseball program in San Angelo will be great because our fans will have some competitive baseball available in the early spring," Bruha said. "There may be an additional spin-off for the Colts. Some quality Ram players may become Colts upon graduation. It will also further promote the great game of baseball in the Concho Valley."

The $2.9 million stadium has a capacity for 4,200 fans. The field is 325 feet down the left field line, 325 down the right field line and 395 feet to dead center field. It is lighted for night baseball to the AAA level of professional play. The facility includes ticket offices, concession stands, restrooms and locker rooms. The adjacent parking lot will accommodate 900 cars.

In addition to LSC opponents, ASU can also schedule collegiate teams from as nearby as Abilene and Brownwood as well as from San Antonio and Austin, helping to minimize travel costs.

At the end of the 2003 collegiate baseball season, 11 LSC teams fielded baseball squads. Five teams played in the LSC South Division and six in the North Division. South Division teams were Abilene Christian, Eastern New Mexico, Tarleton State, Texas A&M-Kingsville and West Texas A&M. North Division teams were Cameron, Central Oklahoma, East Central, Northeastern State, Southeastern State and Southwestern Oklahoma.

"From an economic standpoint," Vandergriff said, "the program looked feasible. From an extracurricular standpoint, it looked desirable because of the interest of current and prospective students as well as our commitment to provide more participation opportunities for our students."