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University Tests Baseballs Used in Playoff Games
LOWELL ߝ The sounds of bats cracking and baseballs flying are commonly heard on UMass Lowell’s ball fields. But they can also be heard in a basement laboratory on campus that tests balls and bats used in Major League Baseball (MLB) games to ensure that they meet the league’s standards.
The testing takes place at UML’s Baseball Research Center (BRC), overseen by Prof. James Sherwood of the Mechanical Engineering Department. Sherwood, his staff and students have been working on different projects related to the physical science of baseball since 1998.
Since 2000, the BRC has been testing Major League balls at the beginning of the season and in 2003 began testing balls before the playoffs, as well. The Center has three high-tech testing systems that utilize high-speed air cannons, one of which is used to evaluate the balls’ dynamic stiffness.
In addition to testing baseballs for MLB, the BRC is the official certification center for all baseball bats used in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
UMass Lowell, a comprehensive university with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 11,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. www.uml.edu.