WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — After sweeping a weekend series from UMass over the weekend at Eck Stadium, Wichita State University (WSU) is playing downtown Tuesday night. The Shockers are hosting Oklahoma.
The Wichita Wind Surge is happy to welcome big-time college baseball to Riverfront Stadium for the third time since the stadium opened.
“Yeah, we’re really excited to have baseball back, especially after a full football season in October. So, it’s going to be really nice to get a baseball game for the first time on the field again and see how the field is playing and letting these guys have a good experience for them,” said Wind Surge Director of Stadium Operations Ben Hartman.
Hartman and his Wind Surge crew over-seeded the dormant Bermuda grass at Riverfront with cool-season rye grass to give the infield and outfield its brilliant mid-summer green color. If you look closely, you’ll see the grounds crew also created a little touch of home for the Shockers.
“We put the ‘Flying W’ in the infield and a starburst pattern in the outfield. It’s a lot of fun, and believe it or not, it’s not much work,” said Hartman. “It’s just the art of putting the leaf blades a certain direction so they bounce off the sun.”
Wind Surge President Jay Miller was a Riverfront Stadium for its entire construction. He left Wichita after the team was sold at the end of 2020, but now he’s back and ready to experience his first ballgame there.
“I haven’t seen a game here yet. So, this will be my first game that I’ve seen in the ballpark. I didn’t sleep last night. I was so excited,” said Miller.
Miller and Hartman are eager to show off the ballpark to those who haven’t seen it yet.
“This has been a month-long process. We started going the first of March. Everybody. For the field. For the stadium, concessions, and clubhouse. Getting everything right. Testing seats. Turning the water back on,” said Hartman.
“This is Wichita’s stadium. So, as many special events we can do here besides our regular season, baseball is what we want to do. We’ve got more football games, high school baseball games. We’re working on something in December. Kind of a holiday in lights theme,” said Miller. “The more people that come and see it and get exposed to it, whether it’s a Boy Scout overnight or whatever it is, we feel like if they see it, they’re coming back.”
“We’re really excited it’s finally here today,” added Hartman.
“I’m fired up to see these premier college teams go at it,” said Miller.
The Wind Surge plan to treat Tuesday night’s OU-WSU game as a “soft” opener ahead of their regular season home opener two weeks from tonight on April 11.