FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
The 2009 Lamar baseball season will feature 36 home games, 16 home Southland Conference contests and midweek matchups in southeast Texas with longtime rivals Houston, Louisiana-Monroe and Rice, as announced by head coach Jim Gilligan Tuesday.
The 46th season of Cardinal baseball will open on Feb. 20 with a four-game series against Austin Peay, which will also be the start of a school-record 16-consecutive home games to open play.
“We get to stay home for a lot of games, which is good for the players in terms of staying in school and feeling comfortable with their surroundings,” Gilligan said.
“I think we have some pitching depth and early in the year we will have a lot of games in a short period which will test that depth,” he added. “We will have the ability to create the need to develop a fourth and fifth staring pitcher which will make our bullpen deeper.”
The SLC slate will open near the end of the home stretch as Lamar plays host to Nicholls State Mar. 6-8. All 12 teams will play each other in a 33-game schedule, something Gilligan is looking forward to.
“That’s the way it should be,” Gilligan said in reference to the number of games. “The last couple of years we finished in second place behind the team we didn’t play. I’m not saying we would have won it but it would have given us the chance to put pressure on somebody down the stretch.”
Since expanding the 12 teams prior to the 2006-07 academic year, schools only played a 30-game conference schedule, missing one opponent, which was the case for Lamar not playing UTSA in a league setting.
The season will conclude with the top eight teams qualifying for the SLC Tournament, which will be held May 20-23 at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi, Texas.
“I think its special for the kids and fans,” said Gilligan. “It’s a real good minor league park and its good for us to play in as many good stadiums as we can for a conference tournament and Whataburger Field is one of the better ones in the nation.”
Lamar will play host to Houston and Rice in single midweek games, March 17 and April 8, respectively. Additionally, ULM will return a two-game series from a year ago when the Warhawks come to Vincent-Beck Stadium April 28-29.
For the second-consecutive year, Lamar and McNeese will play five times over the course of the regular-season. The rivals will play in Beaumont on April 14 and Lake Charles, La. on April 15, with their regular SLC series in a spilt format two-and-a-half weeks later – May 1 in Beaumont and May 2-3 in Lake Charles.
The 36 home dates are the most in the regular-season since playing 40 in 1988. Last season LU played 30 home games going 20-10.
For ticket information (409) 880-1715 or log-on to www.lamarcardinals.com.