NACOGDOCHES, Texas — The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack softball team will open the new SFA Softball Field Wednesday with a doubleheader against North Texas. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. A brief dedication ceremony will be held before team introductions.
SFA is looking to bounce back after going 0-4 over the weekend in the Mississippi State Bulldog Round-Robin. The Ladyjacks dropped two games each to Alabama-Birmingham and Mississippi State.
SFA batted .114 as a team in those four games and scored a total of two runs. Sophomore shortstop Jessica Arana went 3-for-7 with a run scored, and senior third baseman Briana Bishop was 2-for-10 with a home run.
The Ladyjack pitching staff finished the weekend with a 7.29 ERA. Junior Monika Covington and freshman Angela White each pitched two complete games in the tournament.
UNT will be seeing its first action of the season Wednesday. The Mean Green was scheduled to play at Mississippi Valley State last week before joining SFA in the Bulldog Round-Robin, but the team was unable to leave Denton due to poor weather conditions.
UNT went 26-28 in 2009 and finished fifth in the Sun Belt with an 11-12 conference record. Preseason polling in the Sun Belt predicts another fifth-place finish for the Mean Green, who had two players selected to the preseason all-conference team.
Wednesday's dedication ceremony will include a ribbon-cutting and ceremonial first pitch. The home opener is the culmination of a two-year cooperative effort between the SFA Athletics Department and the leadership of the City of Nacogdoches.
The field is on lease to SFA for the next 19 years, during which time the Ladyjack softball program will have exclusive use of the facilities. This marks the first time in the history of SFA softball for the team to have its own field with no obligation to share time or space with any other organization. SFA had spent the last four seasons sharing Hoya Field with the Nacogdoches Youth Baseball Association.
Since taking over the new field, SFA has added numerous features. The additions include: a new playing surface with warning track; a grand stand with seating for 500; an expanded press box; a new Daktronics scoreboard with score-by-inning display; new expanded dugouts with custom-made storage compartments and equipment storage area; bullpens with elevated bench seating beyond the outfield fence in each corner; and new outfield wind screens featuring corporate sponsor logos.