Feb. 8, 2013
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – When you hear “Friday Night Lights” most think of bone-crushing tackles or endzone celebrations, but USD’s head baseball coach Rich Hill thinks the atmosphere can be translated to America’s pastime as well.
“It’s a different feel. It’s Friday night college baseball. There is an electricity, no pun intended, that comes with a night game,” Hill said. “There will be more fans and it gives the students a place to go. With the collegiate environment, the sound system, the cheerleaders, and the national anthem, all those kinds of things add to the experience of a Friday night.”
When the state-of-the-art Fowler Park opens its gates on February 15, the Toreros will play their first home night game in program history. But this won’t be a one-time thing. In fact 22 of the Toreros’ 33 home games will be played under the bright lights at Fowler Park.
““I can’t wait for night games,” Hill said. “I feel like Benny the Jet Rodriguez in Sandlot when they played on the Fourth of July. It’s a different feel.”
The Toreros will kick off the highly-anticipated 2013 season with two night games against cross-town rival San Diego State on February 15 and 16, but the Toreros will also host four teams coming off 2012 NCAA Tournament appearances for night showdowns as well.
The weekend following the opener (Feb. 22-24), the Toreros will host Kent State, who finished fifth in the 2012 College World Series. Other key night games include reigning Big West Champ Cal State Fullerton (March 5), No. 6 Oregon State (March 28-30), and last year’s WCC champ Pepperdine (April 12-14).
"To be able to host Kent State, a 2012 College World Series participant, and Oregon State for a weekend series highlights our non-conference home schedule," Hill said. "In terms of our non-conference schedule, it's going to be another top 25 type of slate."
Fowler Park’s lights were designed by Musco, an Iowa-based company that has manufactured lights for past Super Bowls and Olympics. Fowler Park features Musco’s state-of-the-art green lighting system, which reduces operating costs in half and reduces spill light by fifty percent.
“Being down on the field with the lights on, looking out towards the outfield, it’s unbelievable,” Hill said. “Adjectives don’t really describe this whole thing.”
With Fowler Park’s new lights and ability to expand to 3,000 seats, the Toreros are now eligible to host NCAA Regionals and NCAA Super Regionals. In 2007, the Toreros qualified to host the Regional round, but were forced to play their games at San Diego State due to inadequacies with the old Cunningham Field. The new facility will also increase the amount of games the Toreros’ have televised as well.
Tickets for the upcoming 2013 USD baseball season are now available to the general public. Fowler Park and Cunningham Field, will open its gates for the first time with a three-game series against cross-town rival San Diego State University on February 15-17. Tickets for those games, as well as the rest of the season, are $10 for adults and $5 for a child. In addition, parking is free for all USD home athletic events. To purchase tickets, click here.