Upgraded Erv makes a difference for Jacks

Jonathan Treiber

Erv Huether Field has a new grandstand to go along with its lush green grass. Not only does it make the fans more comfortable, it also seems to help the baseball team.

The Jacks have posted a 4-1 record on their home turf this season, with the biggest win coming against University of Minnesota.

Erik Goetsch, a junior from Gaylord, Minn., attended the April 11 game between SDSU and the University of Minnesota.

“The grandstand is much better and has actual seating instead of just wood benches,” he said. “And at the games I’ve been at, it seems to be more full than it used to be because there was never anywhere to sit.”

However, over the last three years, attendance numbers have been almost identical. Average attendance was at 165, 167 and 168 from 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively, according to Jason Hove, SDSU’s assistant athletic director for sports information. The best year for attendance was the first year at Erv Huether Field, in 2008, when average attendance was 200.

New seating and all, through five games, SDSU has not improved its attendance numbers for 2012, drawing an average of 164 fans per contest.

Athletic director Justin Sell, looked past the numbers, and at the stadium as more of a whole.

“We’ve had the best field in our league, as far as playing surface. It’s becoming more like a Division I college baseball stadium. I think the thing that’s really exciting is [that] it kind of frames the other things that we can finish to make it a true ballpark. The nice thing is, not a lot of those things are really expensive.”

Sell said the addition, one that was a long time coming, was a good start to a longer laundry list.

“I think it served a couple purposes. Number one it helped us get some quality seating and two it kind of helped us frame that vision as we move forward with the things we will continue to finish,” Sell said.

Sell said the baseball team isn’t the only varsity sport benefitting from the addition.

“Every sport can drive by with recruits and say, ‘we have another piece added’,” he said.

The players received this addition with open arms.

“The best part of having a new stadium is the fact that it provides a more competitive Division I atmosphere to our games,” said Austin Busse, senior pitcher.

Busse said he “couldn’t be more honored and blessed” to have the addition come during time for his senior year.

“It means everything because it shows that our hard work both on and off the field is being rewarded by [the] Athletic Department’s commitment to developing a new stadium for us,” Busse said.

The Jacks have 12 home games remaining, including a four-game series this weekend with Summit League rivals Oral Roberts.