FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State baseball team will spend the first five weekends of the 2009 season in the state of Florida competing in tournaments, starting with the initial BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge Feb. 20-22. The 18-team, 27-game event will be held at venues in St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Dunedin, Fla., highlighted by Friday and Saturday evening doubleheaders at Knology Park, the state-of-the-art spring training stadium of the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, and Bright House Field.
Head coach Bob Todd, entering his 21st season leading the program, released dates and most of the game times for the upcoming season Friday. Some notes about the 2009 campaign:
* This year the Big Ten Conference modifies its four-game conference series to a three-game series with nine-inning games to be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
* According to the Big Ten Conference office, all Big Ten games must be completed to nine innings unless the final game of the series is stopped because of rain or darkness. In that case, the last game will count if it has become regulation (four and one-half or five innings).
* If a Big Ten game is stopped before completion, it will become a suspended game and completed the following day. The suspended game must be played to its nine-inning conclusion before a new game can begin.
* If Game 1 is not played on the first day, two nine-inning games shall be played on the second day. If Game 2 has not started on the second day, two nine-inning games shall be played on the third and final day.
* The loss of eight conference games means the Buckeyes will be playing more games on its spring trips and some multiple-mid-week games during the season.
* The Buckeyes will play their first midweek road game – outside of early season, spring trip games – in 11 years when they travel to Louisville, Ky., for a pair of games against the Louisville Cardinals May 5-6. The teams will play two nine-inning games.
* Ohio State last played a midweek road game April 22, 1998 at West Virginia.
* Ohio State did play Cleveland State at a neutral field in 2003: Jacobs Field.
* The conference slate includes the same teams and the same weekends as the 2008 season with flip-flopped locations.
* Ohio State will open its Big Ten season on the road for its first two weekends: at Penn State March 27-29 and at Minnesota April 3-5.
* Home Big Ten weekends will be against Michigan State, Northwestern, Michigan and Iowa.
All 10 of the Big Ten’s baseball-playing institutions will compete in the inaugural BIG EAST/Big Ten Baseball Challenge, hosted by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission. Eight BIG EAST representatives will participate, including South Florida, Connecticut, Georgetown, St. John’s, Seton Hall, West Virginia, Cincinnati and Notre Dame. Each day there will be eight games that feature a BIG EAST team taking on a club from the Big Ten along with one non-conference contest in which two Big Ten schools face off.
Ohio State will play three BIG EAST teams – Notre Dame, Connecticut and Cincinnati – in its three BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge games.