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Wednesday May 29, 2013Photo blog from Bloomington -- Gators vs. Austin Peay on Friday

Updated: 8:00am, May 30

Gators arrive

Newly constructed Bart Kaufman Field, site of this weekend's Bloomington Regional featuring the Gators.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Gators baseball team arrived here late this afternoon in preparation for Friday's NCAA Tournament opener against Austin Peay.

The Gators will practice at Bart Kaufman Field, the new home of Indiana's baseball team, on Thursday along with the other three teams competing in the Bloomington Regional. As you can tell by the photo above, Kaufman Field is still a work in progress.

The field and inside of the stadium look great -- wet-paint signs were visible when I walked around the outside of the stadium Wednesday -- and as you can see the grounds outside remain under construction.

The ballpark was dedicated on April 26 when the Hoosiers played Michigan. The game even featured a visit by Indiana native and former Dodger pitcher -- Brooklyn and Los Angeles -- Carl Erskine, who played the national anthem on his harmonica as part of the festivities.

The host Hoosiers are the No. 1 seed, Austin Peay is No. 2, Florida the third seed and Valparaiso the fourth seed.

Check back with GatorZone.com all day Thursday for more coverage from Bloomington.

As for this evening, once the Gators arrived at their team hotel and got settled, they went out to a team dinner.

While the Gators have played in 28 regionals, they usually don't stroll too far from McKethan Stadium. This marks only the seventh time the Gators have left the Sunshine State for regional play and first since 2004 when they went to Oklahoma. Other than for trips to North Carolina in 1958, 1960 and 1962, the only other times Florida has played away from its home state in regional play is 1977 (Minnesota), Texas (2000) and the aforementioned trip to Oklahoma.

The team hotel is located a short walk to Indiana's campus, which I visited for the first time today. Here are a few photos:

Kaufman Field

The outfield at Kaufman Field. In case you can't tell, the playing surface is FieldTurf.


Memorial Stadium

The outside of Memorial Stadium, Indiana's football stadium. It is located adjacent to Kaufman Field.

 

Memorial Stadium

The view of Memorial Stadium from the steps of Assembly Hall, Indiana's famous basketball arena.

 

Assembly Hall

Inside Assembly Hall, where the Hoosiers' five national championship banners hang.

 

Gators bats and balls

The Gators' bats and balls on the runway after the team arrived at a small airport in Bloomington.


Thomas portrait

The Hall of Fame portrait of perhaps the most famous athlete in Indiana U's history.


Memorial Stadium

A look at the new addition to Memorial Stadium that overlooks the Hoosiers' practice fields.


That does it for my photo blog around IU's campus. Check back Thursday for coverage from Florida's press conference and a look at Austin Peay, the Gators' opponent on Friday.

As long as the Gators are here I'll be here, so check back all weekend for coverage.

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