You may know about TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark as the home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the advanced-A Carolina League affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Regular Stadium Journey visitors and Stadium Journey Magazine subscribers may also recognize the facility for its ranking as the 19th-best stadium experience in the January Top 101 feature. Fans visiting TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in 2013 will notice one added attraction, though, as the Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers baseball team will call the park home for the season.
(Photo: Coastal Carolina pitcher Ben Smith (11) delivers a pitch during a recent game at TicketReturn.com Field, while third baseman Zach Remillard (3) watches on.)
Coastal Carolina baseball is no stranger to TicketReturn.com Field, having played numerous early-season tournaments between the Myrtle Beach facility and their on-campus facility, Charles Watson Stadium, located 11 miles west in Conway. The Chanticleers also hosted an NCAA regional at the facility in 2007, followed by a super regional against South Carolina in 2010. The Texas Rangers also paid Coastal a visit before the 2011 season, leaving the beach with a 6-2 victory.
Coastal has risen to prominence in baseball, and with more NCAA tournament appearances on the horizon for the Chanticleers, the time has come to upgrade the on-campus facility. The current structure seats 850 fans in fixed seats, with the capability of expansion to 2,200 fans. The refurbished facility will increase the fixed seating to 2,500, expanding to 5,000 to 6,000 fans for tournaments and other highly-attended games via grass seating along each base line and an open seating area behind the outfield wall. The school states via a release that the field itself will be unaffected, while a number of cosmetic and comfort upgrades will take place throughout the park.
Coastal head coach Gary Gilmore expressed his excitement through comments released by the university. "This facility will have some of the best components from the top collegiate and minor league baseball stadiums in addition to having our own unique features. To have the indoor facility complete and know that we will be playing in one of the finest stadiums in the country by 2014 will truly make Coastal Carolina one of the premier destinations for a college student-athlete." Gilmore continued, "We will now have all the amenities college players are looking for in order to maximize their potential and realize their goal; playing in Omaha. I am very excited to see what this program can achieve, combining our tradition with what we will have in terms of facilities. I am humbled by the support the University has given our program and the athletics department overall."
There are some changes from a usual Pelicans game that should be noted for those fans attending a Coastal Carolina game in 2013, including the following:
- Only one gate (Gate 1) will be open for Chanticleer contests in 2013. This is the gate located closest to the right-field wall, opposite 21st Avenue North. Fans attending games may purchase tickets through the Coastal ticket site or at the gate. The main parking lot (accessible via Grissom Parkway) will lead you to this gate, but if you must utilize the grass parking behind the outfield fence, make a note of the single entry point to the stadium.
- Concession offerings will be limited for Coastal games. The majority of the stands will be closed, leaving the primary stand just past the entry gate as the main area for concessions. Lines can get a bit long with the limited amount of points of sale, so it may be beneficial to make your selections on the way to your seat, if possible. Hot chocolate is also available for the cool weather during the early part of the season.
- Seating is -- for the most part -- general admission. The three sections behind the plate (109, 110 and 111) are reserved for Coastal Carolina season ticket holders, but the remainder of the lower-level seating is available for your choosing. The upper-level seats are blocked off for most games, but the lower-level seats are all chair backs, providing a great view of the action on the field. If you want to avoid the sun staring you in the eyes, it may be best to choose a seat on the first-base side of the park. Tickets are $7 for adults for non-Big South games, $5 for adults for any conference game and $3 for youth (18 and under) for any game.