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  • Writer's pictureDavid Welch

Jack Stallings Field at J.I. Clements Stadium – Georgia Southern Eagles

Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

J.I. Clements Stadium

2476 Southern Dr

Statesboro, GA 30458

Year Opened: 2005

Capacity: 3,000


Hail Southern!

When considering some of the top college baseball experiences in the nation, teams from the ACC and SEC often come to mind, and rightfully so. However, teams in some of the less spotlighted conferences in the south also offer top-notch baseball experiences.

In the southeast Georgia town of Statesboro, the Georgia Southern University Eagles of the Sun Belt Conference have quietly established themselves as one of the best-kept secrets in NCAA college baseball.

Food & Beverage 4

Concessions offer more than just the typical ballpark fare. While you will find the stadium classics like hot dogs, peanuts, candy, chips, and soda, the options extend further to include burgers, chicken fingers, and fries.

Also available is the uniquely southern delight, boiled peanuts in classic and Cajun flavors. This idea of boiled peanuts might raise an eyebrow, but after getting past the initial unfamiliarity, they do tend to become a bit addicting.

Cocktail carts on each side of the concourse offer a wide selection of alcoholic beverages, including canned cocktails, wines, hard seltzers, and local craft beers such as Golden Road Brewing’s Mango Cart and Fire Maker Brewing Company’s Georgia Southern, the latter branded Hail Southern Golden Ale.

Concession rates are kept reasonable, which makes them that more inviting. The only drawback is a lack of local eats that seemingly could easily be incorporated into the food options, but on the whole the concessions are done rather well.

Atmosphere 4

The brick exterior of J.I. Clements Stadium is quite simple, mainly consisting of the press box tower, which also incorporates a section of suite seating. The remaining exterior of the stadium is filled out by the back walls of the restroom and concession buildings.

In 2017 the outfield wall underwent a significant makeover, with the transformation of right field into the 24-foot "Blue Monster”. Similar to its taller relative in Boston, the famed Green Monster, this shorter, southern version has the ability to turn potential doubles or home runs into singles – it adds an interesting element to line shots hit to right field.

The dimensions of the outfield wall create a field that plays a bit short up the middle, measuring 360 feet to the power alleys and just 385 feet to center field. Each foul line extends 330 feet, with the right field wall making it a bit more challenging than getting one out to left field.

The game's presentation is low-key, maintaining the focus on the game itself. While there are a handful of concourse and scoreboard games, fans are not bombarded with them constantly throughout every half-inning break.

The stadium is built into the natural contours of the land, with seating running from the home plate side of the Eagles dugout around to the end of the visiting dugout, along the first baseline. Much of the seating consists of aluminum bleachers with back support, while the three sections directly behind home plate feature individual seatback chairs. A grassy section beyond the visiting dugout is designated as standing room, but it's often filled with kids playing.

The seating bowl offers little relief from the sun during day games, with only a small part of the concourse behind home plate providing shade. As the game progresses, the seats behind home plate and toward the third base side receive shade first, while those toward the first base side remain in the sun for most of the game.

If looking to view the game from different vantage points around the stadium, ushers guard their sections rather thoroughly. Tickets are checked promptly upon sitting in a section, regardless of how empty the seating may appear.

For a unique stadium experience, just beyond the right-center field wall is the YellaWood Deck – this standing room only section offers fans an outfield view of the game, but also allows them to bring their own items to grill. While the deck is an intriguing concept, it does pose some logistical challenges when it comes to accessing the rest of the stadium.

Neighborhood 4

The recently revitalized Blue Mile, connecting campus to downtown Statesboro, features several bars and restaurants. Notable establishments such as the renowned BBQ joint Dolan's, as well as the popular nightlife spot Gnat's Landing, are found along this path. On the opposite side of campus, Dingus MaGee's is another favorite spot for grabbing a bite and a pint.

Across from the athletics parking lot, a cluster of chain restaurants lines Fair Road. Options include Arby’s, Cookout, Papa John’s, Dunkin’, and Zaxby’s. Among these, Cookout offers the most diverse menu, with its drive-in style and wide selection of milkshakes.

Sports enthusiasts visiting Statesboro may have the opportunity to catch a match of the South Georgia Tormenta FC of the USL League One, or the women’s squad in the USL W League. Both teams play at Optim Sports Medicine Field, just off the southwest corner of campus.

For those craving a larger city atmosphere, the Georgia port city of Savannah is approximately an hour east on I-16.

Fans 4

Statesboro is a community known for its strong support of local teams, particularly the Georgia Southern Eagles. Fans consistently fill the stands at J.I. Clements Stadium, with typical attendances hovering around 2,500 fans per game, putting the stadium at over 80% of its full capacity. This level of attendance creates an electrifying atmosphere throughout the game.

Students typically occupy the sections behind the visitor dugout, and enthusiastically voice their opinions about every miscue by the opposing team. While their energy adds to the liveliness of the game, the student section sometimes crosses the line with their taunts. This can create some awkwardness, especially since the visitor seating is in the neighboring section. To manage any potential conflicts, an usher is stationed at the edge of the dugout to intervene if necessary.

Access 3

Getting to Statesboro can be a bit challenging due to its distance from major cities. Savannah, the closest big city, is still an hour's drive away, while Macon, the next closest Georgia city, is almost a 2-hour drive. Those traveling from central and northern Georgia will become well acquainted with the Georgia countryside along Interstate I-16.

Once in Statesboro, the heart of the Eagles athletics district is wedged into the northern reaches of the Georgia Southern campus on the south side of town. Parking is available in a large lot along Fair Road, located next to Georgia Southern Softball Complex and behind the tennis complex and the recently retired Hanner Fieldhouse. Another parking lot is situated closer to the stadium, but may be trickier to locate if you are unfamiliar with the area.

The stadium has two main entry points, one along the first base side of the field and another behind home plate. Both entrances lead directly to the concourse encircling the top of the seating bowl, making it easy to access seats.

Return on Investment 5

Tickets start at $10, which is comparable to the average ticket price within the conference. This rate becomes even more appealing due to the availability of free parking in the lots surrounding the stadium. For those looking to save on ticket prices, tickets can sometimes be found on the secondary market for as low as $1, though fees typically bring the total closer to $6.

With reasonable concession prices and no parking fees, attending a baseball game at Georgia Southern offers fans great value for their money. The main expense would be the costs associated with simply traveling to Statesboro.

Extras 3

J.I. Clements Stadium pays homage to the rich history of baseball at Georgia Southern. Plaques on the concourse narrate the stories of the stadium’s namesake J.I. Clements, coach Jack Stallings' 23-year career, and contributor Lamar Hennon. Additionally, photos of the 1973 and 1990 Georgia Southern teams that advanced to the College World Series in Omaha adorn the concourse.

The beloved Georgia Southern mascot, Gus, would not miss a chance to support his Eagles. Gus makes his rounds through the stadium during the game interacting with kids, fans, and giving the visiting fans a bit of good natured razzing.

The team clubhouse, situated along the first base side of the stadium, commemorates the Eagles’ NCAA regional appearances, and also features the ret

Final Thoughts

Currently, a fundraising campaign is underway to complete upgrades to the Eagles clubhouse and player development facilities, as well as to add seating along the top of the home dugout. These renovations aim to modernize the stadium and enhance its overall appeal.

Georgia Southern baseball consistently fields a highly competitive team that frequently contends for the Sun Belt Conference regular season title. While the Sun Belt may not get as much attention as some of the larger conferences in the south, the league undoubtedly plays a high level of baseball.

From a well laid out stadium in an intimate setting to a game presentation where the action on the field is kept the focus of attention, J.I. Clements Stadium offers fans a high-level baseball experience. Georgia Southern baseball is also well supported both by the town and the college community, which complements the overall atmosphere.

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