FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) – First-year head coach Terry Rooney announced the 2009 UCF baseball schedule Tuesday, and the Black and Gold has a lot in store for fans this season. The Knights will play 33 home games in the confines of Jay Bergman Field, including a season-opening four-game set vs. Virginia Commonwealth Feb. 20-23.
UCF posted a 31-27 record during the 2008 campaign and an 8-16 mark in C-USA, while it was 26-12 in home games. With nine baseball programs in C-USA, the league sent over half its teams to the NCAA Tournament as Rice (regular-season champion), Houston (tournament champion), Tulane, Southern Miss and East Carolina all reached the postseason. UCF will host three of those schools in Southern Miss, Tulane and Houston. However, 2009 marks the first season since 2002 that the Knights will not have a homestand longer than seven games.
In all, the Black and Gold takes on seven programs that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, highlighted by non-conference schools LSU and Florida. Meanwhile, a total of seven squads finished 2008 ranked in the top 50 of the RPI, and 14 of UCF’s 21 opponents had a record of .500 or better.
Following the first meeting between UCF and Virginia Commonwealth to get the year underway, Rooney and assistant coach Cliff Godwin return to LSU Feb. 27-March 1 as the duo spent the previous two seasons on the Tigers’ coaching staff. Last year, LSU won 23-straight games on its way to the College World Series, and in 2009, it will be opening a brand new multi-million dollar Alex Box Stadium. In the Knights’ previous appearance in Baton Rouge, they picked up a Sunday victory to go 1-2 in a three-game series in 2007.
A midweek tilt at Florida International March 4 sets up the annual clash against Monmouth March 6-8. The Hawks have traveled to Orlando every season since 2002 and are coming off a 37-16 record last year. UCF also welcomes Hartford to town March 13-15 in its final non-conference weekend series. That series includes a Saturday doubleheader March 14, with the game against Hartford set for 1 p.m. while Northern Iowa gets into the act at 6:30 p.m.
The Knights’ will play home-and-home non-conference weekday games against Florida, Jacksonville, USF (two home, two road), Florida International, Stetson (two home, one away), North Florida and Florida Gulf Coast. They also meet Army in a one-game clash March 17 in Orlando.
Along with hosting Southern Miss, Tulane and Houston (final series of the regular-season May 14-16) in C-USA action, UCF and Marshall tangle at Jay Bergman Field May 1-3. The Thundering Herd were the surprise team in the league last year, reaching the C-USA Championship game before falling to Houston.
UCF hits the road in league play when it travels to East Carolina, Memphis, UAB and Rice. The Owls are coming off another impressive season in which they went 47-15 and earned a spot in the College World Series. The Knights will have an open weekend April 17-19.
It all leads up to the C-USA Championship May 20-24 in Hattiesburg, Miss. The first day of the NCAA Tournament regionals is scheduled for May 29.