UK Baseball: New Stadium in Planning Stages

A new home is in store for the University of Kentucky baseball team as the UKAA is expected to release the planning stages of the soon-to-be state of the art new baseball stadium in this year's Baseball media guide.

The UKAA is currently in the planning process of building a new state of the art baseball stadium that will replace the old Cliff Hagan Stadium by 2009.

The old stadium, which seats the least amount of visitors in the Southeastern Conference, was exposed to major traffic issues during the magical 2006 run. The new designs, which will be laid out in the upcoming 2007 media guide, call for the new park to be placed over by the current softball field off Alumni Drive, which would be close enough to Commonwealth Stadium for additional parking.

The plans aren't expected to break ground until July of 2008 and to be completed until the 2009 season.

More Cool Additions: Just because the idea is to move forward with the program and a new home in the future for Coach Cohen and his SEC Champion Wildcats, doesn't mean the UKAA decided to sit on its hands with the current park.

Among the new additions to Cliff Hagan is a padded outfield fence that was also lowered to eight feet.

The lowering of the wall helps make the 'Hagan Hell-raisers' in right field more apart of the atmosphere. Now nearly any location in the right field parking lot, has a clear view of the diamond, meaning many fans may find themselves tailgating a little longer in '07.

"We have a new deck that is going to be in right field that will be able to house 100-150 people," Kentucky head coach John Cohen said. "The entire parking area behind our right-field fence will have a much better view of the ballpark, because we have lowered the fence and put up a padded wall."

"We're adding kind of a semi-green monster effect to our right field side because it plays so small."

Also helping to bring forth a more friendly atmosphere is the new state-of the art videoboard that will be in left-center.

"We have a brand new video board for our fans which will be tremendous," Cohen said. "It will make the games much more fan-friendly, much more educational, and more inviting to our fans."

Lastly, from a players perspective, the athletic department added a new Bermuda grass infield, which was installed in the fall, giving the field a much more natural look.

Who's on first?!?!: Bound to be at least the first or second question asked at Coach John Cohen's inaugural press conference for the season opener, will be the replacement of All-American Ryan Strieby at first base.

While not official, the man to which has fallen on that distinction is Sawyer Carroll and surprisingly enough, he's of a similar background and height of the former one-year wonder.

Carroll, who like Strieby played two years of junior college ball before arriving at Kentucky, is a tall, lanky kid.

While he's not Strieby-sized at 6-7, the Tulsa (OK) native and Seminole CC standout is no slouch at 6-4 and his strong 200 pound frame only adds to a very natural and beautiful swing.

According to those inside the program, Carroll's numbers may not approach Strieby's level from a year ago, but his defensive prowess could be an important equalizer.

Who's on second?!?!: Former Wichita State standout and incoming transfer Brian Spear has taken the lead on replacing former All-SEC and Lexington (Ky.) native John Shelby at second base.

Shelby was drafted by the Chicago White Sox after three years of revitalizing the UK Baseball program.

Spear has allegedly put on 15 pounds since he transferred to UK from the current baseball power, Shockers, and certainly has the glove for the position.

One thing that has become clear through the four years of Cohen's tenure at Kentucky, regardless of who's wearing the jersey, the team will know how to hit and score runs.

Star in the making: It's nearly unanimous amongst the masses that have followed the UK Baseball program the past three years, that another season like the previous two from Antone DeJesus and a case could be made that he is arguably the best prospect ever to wear a Wildcat uniform.

In case you are unaware of the talents of Antone DeJesus, rest assure the draft board will take him high enough in the upcoming Major League draft to catch your attention.

An amazingly disciplined hitter at the plate, DeJesus has started to hit for power, another added attribute to his already packed arsenal.

The word around the UK Baseball camp is that DeJesus' projections could center on hitting .330 and stealing 20 bases.

Defensively, he's already one of the best, if not the best defensive outfielder in college baseball.

Apparently the word's gotten out about the talented Ohio native, as he's been projected to be chosen in the first 5 rounds in the ‘07 draft

Season Ticket Update: Season tickets are selling fairly well for the Wildcats as for the first time in school history, the program has sold out of its season chairback tickets, leaving only a few season reserved tickets available.

Fans can order season tickets online at or by contacting the UK Ticket Office at (859) 257-1818 for more information.

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