FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama head baseball coach Jim Wells announced the 2009 schedule today and the Crimson Tide will play almost one-half of its regular season games against teams that played in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
The Crimson Tide will play 25 games against eight NCAA Tournament teams from last season, including Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois-Chicago, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi and Vanderbilt. Those eight teams posted a 321-181 (.639) record last season.
Overall, Alabama will play 20 different teams representing seven different conferences, including 2008 SEC Champion Georgia (45-25) and 2008 Horizon League Champion Illinois-Chicago (35-22). The composite 2009 schedule won 53 percent of its games last season and 15 of the 20 teams finished with .500 record or better.
“I think this is a very good schedule,” Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. “The SEC speaks for itself. Every team is good and each series is a battle. When you take a look at some of the names, there are some quality baseball teams there and not just in the SEC. Southeast Missouri has a very good program. We have played them before and they played here in the NCAA Tournament (in 2002). Illinois-Chicago is another solid program. They were in the NCAA Tournament. They beat Vanderbilt last year during the regular season. These are two quality teams.”
Alabama opens the season with nine straight home games against Southeast Missouri (Feb. 20-22), Nicholls State (Feb. 24-25) and Illinois-Chicago (Feb. 27-March 1).
The first road game of the season is March 3 when the Crimson Tide travels to Pace-Riddle Field in Troy to face the Troy Trojans. It will be UA’s first visit to Troy since 1998. Alabama will the play in the Whataburger Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas on March 5-7 against a yet to be determined field.
Alabama and Auburn will meet four times this season, including a non-conference tilt at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium on March 3. It will mark the first non-conference meeting between the two schools since a 2-0 UA win at Paterson Field in 1996.
“We have not played Auburn in a non-conference game in a while, so I thought this was a good idea,” Wells added. “The games in Montgomery always had large, enthusiastic crowds. We played in (Riverwalk Stadium) last year against and I can only imagine what the atmosphere will be like in that ballpark for an Alabama-Auburn game.”
Alabama will also play home-and-home series with in-state foes Troy, Samford, South Alabama and UAB this season. The Crimson Tide will also play a two-game series against Alabama A&M at Sewell-Thomas Stadium (March 17-18), marking the first-ever meeting between the Tide and Bulldogs. Alabama will also host Southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi Valley State in non-conference action this season.
“We have always tried to showcase the Crimson Tide baseball program throughout the state,” Wells continued. “I think it’s important to the Alabama fans in Birmingham, Mobile and Montgomery to be able to see us play in person. That is why we play these games to expose our program to the many great Tide fans.”
The Crimson Tide will host defending SEC Champion Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, Kentucky and Arkansas at home this season in SEC play, while traveling to Mississippi, Florida, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Auburn.
In all, Alabama will play 33 home games, 19 road games and four games at neutral sites this season.