GCS Ballpark will host the annual “Braggin’ Rights” game between the University of Illinois and University of Missouri on March 31, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. The two baseball programs will play at the Gateway Grizzlies’ home ballpark for the second time in the facility’s history.
“The Gateway Grizzlies are thrilled to host this event at GCS Ballpark,” said Grizzlies’ general manager Steve Gomric. “We expect to have a great crowd and an even split of fans because of the ballpark’s location,” he said.
It has been seven years since GCS Ballpark last hosted the rivalry game. Illinois and Mizzou played in Sauget for the first time on May 15, 2007. The Tigers beat the Illini, 12-5.
Illini head coach Dan Hartleb remembers when the two teams last played at GCS Ballpark. He said it’s rare for a pair of power conference programs to face off at a location where local supporters from both sides can make an easy trip to the game.
“I think everyone enjoys the rivalry and the great facility,” said Hartleb, who enters his 10th season at the helm for Illinois. “It’s an opportunity for fans from a different part of the state to come see us play.”
“It’s fun because in a lot of cases, the players will play against other guys they know,” said Evan Pratte, Mizzou’s Director of Baseball Operations. “It really creates interest in both fan bases,” he said.
Since it was opened in 2002, the Grizzlies’ ballpark has hosted thoursands of events including more than a decade of Frontier League professional baseball. The ballpark also has strong ties to NCAA baseball in the St. Louis area. It serves as the home field for Webster University and Lindenwood University in Belleville.