Scenic English Field continues to provide Virginia Tech with a first-class campus setting for college baseball, day or night. The field, which was officially dedicated during a special ceremony on April 8, 1989, is named for the late E.R. ‘Red’ English and his wife, Ruth, who provided financial support for construction of the field.
Located at the intersection of Southgate Drive and Duck Pond Drive, English Field features 1,033 permanent chair-back seats in its concrete stands. An anonymous donor made the seats possible through a contribution. The stands also include easy-access handicapped sections, which are located at the top of the stands on each side of the center section.
The Tech athletics department continues to make upgrades and improvements to the facility, which enabled the Hokies to host their first ever NCAA Regional in 2013 and set the school record for a college baseball attendance record at 3,566 on May 31. During an exhibition game against the New York Yankees on March 18, 2008, fans set the facility record with an announced 5,311 in attendance.
“The enhancements to English Field throughout the last decade and the commitment from the administration to provide a state-of-the-art facility has made English Field one of the best facilities in the country,” head baseball coach Patrick Mason said. “Our goal of hosting an NCAA regional would not have been realized without these upgrades.
“Our 2013 regional host allowed us to showcase English Field, our campus and our community.”
Before the 2012 season, workers replaced the natural grass surface of English Field with AstroTurf. The $1 million enhancement allows the Hokies to practice even during inclement weather, as groundskeepers can remove snow quickly. Plus, it drains quickly, allowing for a speedy resumption of play following rain delays. Also, as a part of this project, workers expanded both dugouts to almost twice the size, constructed a new batter’s eye, improved the bullpen areas and installed a new padded outfield fence.
The latest project followed on the heels of the completion of a new indoor hitting facility, which was finished in December of 2009. To see more information on the Virginia Tech Baseball Center, click here.
The two projects were just the latest in upgrades to English Field. In the summer of 2008, the terracing of the hill along the third base/left field line was completed to provide fans with a new, unique and comfortable way to take in the action. When added to the permanent seats in the grandstand, the new terracing allows for approximately 4,000 fans to be accommodated at any given time. The terracing includes a sloping, paved walkway to allow for wheelchair access and easy navigation.
The terrace looks much like one would see in an outdoor amphitheater and features a series of steps/seating areas constructed with VERSA-LOK walls and sod-type pads. There is about seven feet of space between each terrace, so there is plenty of room to put blankets down and for children to play.
“The terrace area provides one of the most aesthetically pleasing views in all of baseball, while still providing seating to accommodate for more than 2,000 fans,” Mason said. “There isn’t a better place for a family to watch a baseball game than on the terrace at English Field.”
Coinciding with the terracing project was the realignment of the left and right field foul line fences. Both were cut in tighter to the playing field, significantly reducing the foul territory in the outfield. This change not only provided a new element to the play on the field, but it also allowed the terraces to get a little closer to the action, both increasing room for attendance and giving fans a new and unique viewpoint from which to watch the game. This renovation also included the addition of bullpens.
An eight-foot wooden outfield fence and a new net backstop behind the plate were installed in 2005. The previous spring, a new scoreboard and message center were added along with additional landscaping and a concrete patio behind the stands.
Prior to the 2004 season, a new lighting system was installed. The Hokies played their first baseball game under the lights in Blacksburg on April 28 of that year, defeating VMI, 8-0.
A permanent press box was completed in January of 1997. The two-story building located at the top of the stands behind home plate provides a working area for game operations workers and media, as well as two broadcast booths. It also houses a concession stand and restrooms, and a brand-new sound system that was installed in 2008. The press box was equipped with new windows in January of 2010.
E.R. English, a native of Altavista, Va., played as an offensive and defensive guard on Virginia Tech football teams from 1930-33 and graduated from Virginia Tech in 1934. English contributed to Tech athletics for more than 50 years and was one of the founders of The Student Aid Association in 1949. He served as president of that organization two of its first three years. English received the most outstanding alumni award at Tech in 1984.
Through a generous gift from alumnus George Sampson, the home team dugout was named for long-time Tech baseball coach G.F. ‘Red’ Laird during a ceremony on April 12, 1991. Laird recruited and coached Sampson at Tech.
The Hokies opened play at their new home with a 7-2 victory against George Mason on March 22, 1989, and went on to post a 17-7 home record during their first season in the facility. Heading into the 2014 season, Tech’s 23-year mark at English Field is 422 wins, 220 losses and three ties.
Prior to the opening of English Field, Tech played its home baseball games at Tech Park, where it compiled a 431-122-1 record over 34 seasons.
260 Duck Pond Drive
Blacksburg, Va. 24061