|Hayes Stadium Named Best in NC, No. 14 in NCAA|
Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium, the home of the Charlotte 49ers baseball program, was named the “Top Ballpark in North Carolina” and finished No. 14 in the “2013 College Baseball Ballpark Rankings” by Stadium Journey.com at the conclusion of the season.
In 2013, “The Hayes” broke the all-time attendance mark at Charlotte, with a total of 39,604 fans entering the gates for Charlotte’s record 40 home games. The 49ers extended their school record of 30,000-plus fans coming to games in now three seasons. Charlotte’s attendance ranked 49th in the country in overall attendance this season.
Prior to the start of the season, a $55,000 renovation was completed to augment the bullpen and cages areas, adding 2,200 square feet of practice space on the first-base side. The dugouts also were expanded by 500 square feet each, giving both the home and visiting teams more room to observe the game and store equipment. The benefits were immediately felt during the regular season and in the hosting of the 2013 Atlantic 10 Conference Championships.
The facility, which was opened on March 31, 2007 and completed following the season, boasts a full-service concession stand, famous for its cheesesteaks, and full restrooms on the concourse level in the stadium. The facility has 550 chair-backed seats on the lower level and 550 combined bleacher seats on either side of the press box level. The Erik Walker Suite is the main hospitality room, which features indoor stadium-style seating and a porch that opens up above the first-base side bleachers for outdoor viewing. The building also has a large conference room on the third-base side, with a TV booth, two radio booths and full operations room/press box. The improved digital scoreboard and message board was installed as the last piece of the main construction before the 2008 season.
The Bermuda grass playing surface plays fast and the field dimensions are 335 down the lines, 370 to the power alleys and 390 to dead center field. Charlotte’s largest crowd on hand was 3,326 on April 22, 2008.
Charlotte has posted a 156-60 mark (.722) at home since the park opened, which included a 79-30 (.725) mark against Atlantic 10 Conference opponents in the stadium. The 49ers won 29 games at home in 2013, tying the school record, set in 1998. The 49ers have won 20 or more home games in seven of the last eight seasons.
The 49ers won five A-10 regular season titles in eight years of league membership, advancing to three NCAA Regionals in that span.
The 49ers rejoined Conference USA, of which it was a charter member in 1995, on July 1, 2013 and will participate in the 10-weekend C-USA season starting Friday March 7, after the first three non-conference weekends. The 2014 season starts Friday, February 14, 2014 with Charlotte hosting at least 35 home dates for the season.