In January 2007, California State University, Bakersfield announced the addition of baseball as an intercollegiate sport beginning with the 2009 season. In May of that same year, Bill Kernen was introduced as the Head Coach of the program. In August 2008, construction officially began on Hardt Field.
Named for Tom Hardt, whose $1 million donation was the driving force behind the project, Hardt Field serves as the CSUB baseball competition and training facility. Hardt, who has served as the project’s general contractor, along with Marty Whitton, who also spearheaded the 1996 facelift of the Roadrunner Softball Complex, infrastructure work began in early August 2008. Earthwork, which included raising the ground level on the southwest corner of campus nearly a foot and the digging of a sump beyond the outfield to collect surface runoff water, was the first step in the process.
Irrigation and trenching of a water pipe, completed by Sierra Construction, and fine grating of the dirt followed. By early October, the field began to take visible shape with the backstop, foul poles and outfield fencing in place.
The infield is a specialized mixture of sand, silt and clay similar to what is used at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, and Angel Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
More than 100,000 square feet of overseeded hybrid bermuda grass was laid by hand by CSUB coaches, players and volunteers in late October 2008. The strips of sod are overseeded with winter rye, which will remain visible until the Bermuda takes over when the weather warms in late spring and summer. Desert Block began cement work on the backstop and dugouts in early November and bullpens were constructed down the first and third base lines.
The field measures 325 feet down the right and left field lines, 375 feet in the power alleys and 390 feet to center field. Twenty-five Cypress trees were planted beyond the center field wall to create a natural “batter’s eye,” while oaks and other foliage surround outer rim of the facility.
The facility underwent the addition of a scoreboard and lights in 2011 with the Roadrunners officially opening night games on March 13, 2011 against Ohio State, a 13-2 Roadrunner victory. CSUB also introduced a clubhouse in the spring of 2011 that includes lockers, television and stereo equipment and a place to congregate before and after games and practices.
In Febuary of 2013, 750 permanent seats were installed behind home plate with plans of a permanent press box being constructed in time for the 2017 season.
Once all phases of construction are complete, the facility will include the field, a state-of-the-art hitting tunnel, permanent seating, enclosed press box, lighting and game-quality fan facilities – the essential components of a successful program, and the necessary proponents of hosting NCAA regional and super regional tournaments.