Improvements have begun on the University of Portland's baseball stadium, Joe Etzel Field. The multi-phased project has begin with the installation of artificial turf.

One of the donors is Larree Renda, who has given two gifts of a combined $400,000. Renda is an executive with Safeway Inc., based in Pleasanton, Calif., and a member of the university's board of regents. Her son, Tommy Renda played baseball for the Pilots and earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees at the university. Tom and Mary Herche, of Seattle, whose son Charlie played baseball for the Pilots, gave $150,000 for the baseball field upgrade. Additional gifts for the project have come from former players Lou Stremick, Walt Spitznagel and Al Courter. Indonesian alumnus Pudjiono Djojonegoro gave $100,000.

Scott Leykam, University of Portland athletic director, says artificial turf is almost a necessity in the Pacific Northwest and the spring baseball season.