Cleveland S. Harley Baseball Park – USC Upstate Spartans
Enjoy a Very Spartan Experience
USC Upstate is one of the newest members of the South Carolina University System. It opened in 1967 and has a student body of 6,000 students. The school is located on a 330-acre campus just northeast of downtown Spartanburg. The University offers degrees in Liberal Arts, Science, Business Administration and Nursing.
The athletic teams at USC Upstate are known as the Spartans and they compete in the Big South Conference of Division I NCAA baseball. The Spartans have only been at the Division I level since 2008. Other schools in the Big South Conference include Charleston Southern, Liberty, Winthrop, Presbyterian, Garner Webb, Radford and High Point.
Food & Beverage 4
Harley Baseball Park has one concession stand located on the plaza at the top of the seating area. The menu includes hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, peanuts, popcorn, Coca-Cola sodas and bottled water at the extremely low price of $2.50. Even better… chips, candy, gum and granola bars are only $1.25 ! There are very few restaurants located near the campus, and at these prices, why go elsewhere?
The home of Spartans baseball is the 500-seat Cleveland S Harley Baseball Park located in the Howell Sports Complex on the USC Upstate campus. The 500-seat capacity is somewhat of an estimate, as many fans choose to bring a lawn chair to sit atop the stadium in the plaza at the entry to the facility, while others choose to bring a beach towel and sit on the hill overlooking the first baseline. All permanent seating includes very comfortable full stadium seats with cup holders. No matter where or how you sit, you will have an excellent view of the field.
Harley Baseball Park opened in 2004 and still looks new after fifteen years. It is constructed of a very attractive red sandstone material that has held up very well. The stadium entry overlooks a natural valley, with the seating area descending the hill to the playing surface. The permanent stands extend from dugout to dugout. The stadium features one of the clearest audio systems we’ve experienced, so you’ll have no problem understanding the announcer. USC Upstate keeps its baseball old school and has a traditional scoreboard with no video screen.
USC Upstate is located northeast of downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina, which is midway between Charlotte, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina along I-85, and only one hour from Asheville, North Carolina via I-26. It has often been known as the “Hub City” due to its strategic location for commerce. It should come as no surprise that two of the city’s main attractions relate to transportation.
Spartanburg is home to the only BMW Museum in the country, as well as the Hub City Railroad Museum. When dining in the South, BBQ is a must, and you will find the best in Spartanburg at Carolina BBQ. Lodging near USC Upstate is rather sparse due to its isolated location away from the interstate. The Quality Inn and Suites on Simuel Road is the closest hotel to the campus and provides excellent accommodations at reasonable prices.
The Spartans enjoy a very loyal fan base.
One explanation is that most of the student body went to high school in the area and have many former high school classmates now performing at USC Upstate.
Another reason for the keen interest in the Spartans is that rather than just a single rivalry, the Big South Conference offers up multiple rivalries due to the close proximity of the many schools. A vast majority of the member institutions are in the Carolinas.
The student body is very active in supporting the teams as all athletic facilities are located on campus and the admission to all school sporting events are through the activity fee included in tuition.
USC Upstate and the Harley Baseball Park are easily accessed via I-85. From I-85:Take exit #72 onto Highway 176 East. Take the East Campus Boulevard exit and turn left at the bottom of the ramp. Continue on East Campus Boulevard to its end at a stop sign. Turn left onto North Campus Boulevard. Proceed through one stop sign and Harley Park’s parking lot will be on your right.
Return on Investment 5
An afternoon at a Spartans baseball game will not break your budget. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children. Students can attend free as a part of their school activity fee. Parking is free. The concessions are very reasonably priced. If you are coming from the Charlotte, Greenville or Asheville areas you should not require lodging, as Spartanburg is within commuting distance. If you are staying overnight, lodging in the area averages less than $100 a night. Spartanburg also offers some very reasonably priced dining options for a pre or post game meal.
The Harley Baseball Complex is named for a Spartanburg businessman and philanthropist who was instrumental in the formation of USC Upstate.
USC Upstate is a very green campus. There is a lovely arboretum and garden located in the middle of the campus.
The Spartan statue next to the Hodge Center is a great place to shoot a selfie on campus.
In just a short period of time, USC Upstate has come a long way to having a very competitive athletic program at the Division I level. The student body is growing by leaps and bounds and the Carolinas are rich in athletes, especially in football, baseball and basketball.
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There may not be much of an occasion for your travels to lead you to Spartanburg, South Carolina, but if they do, you won’t waste the trip if you check out a game at Harley Park. This is a comfortable facility staffed by nice people, and all the money and trappings cannot compensate for that feeling. Bring a lawn chair, have a seat on the hill (assuming you don’t want to sit in the comfortable seats, that is) and enjoy a fun experience.