With just one more series before the conference tournament, Jonathan looks into the park in Morgantown, where Tech will take on West Virginia for a three game series starting this Thursday
The Red Raiders have a relatively light and unknown history with the Mountaineers. When the landscape of the Big XII changed, and two new schools joined in, the purple froggies of Ft. Worth were probably better known to most Tech fans (probably due to geographical proximity) over the Mountaineers of West Virginia. There was the close loss in the Sweet Sixteen round of the 2005 tournament, where the dreaded name of Pittsnogle still brings about bad memories for any Red Raider basketball fans. Our very first bowl game, the 1938 Sun Bowl was against West Virginia, and resulted in another close loss, but that was the only meeting on the football field before the Mountaineers joined our conference.
As new as the competition between the two teams are, their current baseball stadium is even newer, with the first game being played this past April 10th. Monongalia County Ballpark is also home to the West Virginia Black Bears, a class A minor league team affiliated with the Pirates. The park is greatly affected by wind, as the Mountaineers noticed during their first practice with balls flying out of the park very easily. They lead the conference in home runs at 49, whereas the past 2 seasons only hit 24 and 32. The players have noticed that the wind can change, even during the same practice, and balls just do not leave the park under certain conditions. This is one thing our players need to be aware of in the upcoming series.
The most unique part of the park is in left field. In left-centerfield, part of the outfield wall is 16 feet tall, but only where it meets the ticket office for the Mountaineers. The wall is 16 feet where it meets the left field foul pole, and then angles down to the right until it reaches the normal 8 feet. Balls that hit the new padding of the wall can bounce in unexpected ways, causing interesting plays for the outfielders. In left field foul territory, there is a concrete wall 16 feet high that can cause strange ricochets when fair balls bounce off the turf and then off that wall.
- Original Cost: $21 million
- Playing Surface: FieldTurf with a clay pitcher's mound
- Left Field: 325'
- Center Field: 400'
- Right Field: 325'
- Power Alleys: 375'
- Capacity: 3,100 (Opening Day vs Butler)