FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
LAS VEGAS – A 17-day homestand to open the season and matchups with four teams that went to the NCAA Tournament, including hosting Pac-10 power Arizona, highlight the 2009 UNLV baseball schedule, which was announced by the athletics department Wednesday.
The Rebels open their season at home on Feb. 20 against Maine, the first of four teams that will visit Earl E. Wilson Stadium at the beginning of UNLV head coach Buddy Gouldsmith’s sixth year at the helm. For the second consecutive year the start of the season is in late February as a result of the NCAA rule regarding the start date for baseball. Arizona, which advanced to an NCAA Super Regional last year, St. Peters College and Butler University are the other opponents in UNLV’s season-long 14-game home stand that starts the campaign.
New to the Rebels’ slate this year will be four scheduled doubleheaders at home, with two games being played against Maine on Feb. 21, St. Peters College on Feb. 28, Butler on March 7 and Northern Colorado on April 18. The addition of the doubleheaders will help Rebel student-athletes miss less class time due to the schedule change.
“The 2009 schedule will take on a different look than years past due to NCAA rules regarding a uniform start date, and that includes playing doubleheaders so that our players are not missing as much class,” Gouldsmith said. “We also have some challenging midweek games on the road at places like Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, programs that always field good teams.”
UNLV’s first trip away from Las Vegas will also open up MWC play for the Rebels, as they travel to San Diego State for a three-game series with the Aztecs that begins on March 13. The two teams will play again at Wilson Stadium on April 9-11, and UNLV will also play league-rival Air Force twice, March 20-22 at home and April 24-26 in Colorado Springs.
Following the home series with the Falcons, the Rebels will hit the road for back-to-back series with teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, traveling to play Oklahoma State on March 24-25 in Stillwater, Okla., and then Long Beach State in Long Beach, Calif., on March 27-29. UNLV then travels to Northridge, Calif., for a two-game set with Cal State Northridge on March 31-April 1, marking the longest road trip of the season for the Rebels.
Other non-conference series include a four-game set at home against Northern Colorado on April 17-19, a two-game series at Texas Tech on April 21-22 and two games at home against Cal State Northridge on April 28-29. The Rebels will also host UC Riverside for a single game on May 5, then return the trip the following week by heading to Riverside on May 12.
UNLV will play home series with MWC opponents Utah on April 3-5 and TCU on May 14-16, which will be the final regular-season games at Wilson Stadium for the Rebels. League series on the road include New Mexico on May 1-3 and BYU on May 7-9.
“I think we have put together a good, challenging schedule that will prepare us for Mountain West Conference games and the league tournament,” Gouldsmith said. “We won’t play as many warm-weather schools early in the season like we have in the past, but the 14 games to open up at home should allow us to come together as a team and get off to a good start.”
The MWC Tournament will once again be hosted by TCU this season and it will be played at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth on May 20-24, where the league’s automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament will be up for grabs.