ST. LOUIS – Saint Louis head coach Darin Hendrickson today announced the 2009 baseball schedule. The slate includes a date with Missouri at Busch Stadium April 1 and four games against regional foes at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill. In addition, the Billikens stage a 10-game home stand at the Billiken Sports Center in March.
“We are excited about putting our guys into some challenging situations, considering we are going to be young,” Hendrickson said. “I am also pleased that we will see some new teams this year. Also, we are fortunate to be able to play competitive mid-week games against other teams in our region, which will help limit class time missed due to travel. This schedule will help lift us to the start of something good here.”
The Billikens begin their season with a West Coast trip to Bakersfield, Calif., Feb. 20 to play California State Bakersfield in its inaugural baseball game. CSU Bakersfield, which initiated its baseball program as part of its move to NCAA Division I, will also host a doubleheader with SLU the following day. SLU completes the trip Sunday, Feb. 22, with a neutral-site game against UC Santa Barbara.
The Bills return to the Midwest and face regional foes Indiana State, Eastern Illinois, Butler, Evansville and Illinois State over the next two weeks. SLU opens the home portion of its schedule with a three-game set against Chicago State beginning Friday, March 6. That kicks off a 10-game home stand that will see the Bills host Northern Illinois for a pair of games, Murray State for three tilts and North Dakota for two.
Saint Louis then jumps into Atlantic 10 Conference play when it travels to Cincinnati to face Xavier in a three-game series beginning March 20. The Billikens travel to Ole Miss of the SEC March 24 before facing SIU Edwardsville the following day at GCS Ballpark. The Bills host EIU March 31 prior to taking on the Missouri Tigers at Busch Stadium April 1 in a 7:15 p.m. start.
“I think the Saint Louis vs. Missouri game is a great idea, and it gives our players a chance to play under the lights at Busch Stadium,” Hendrickson said. “We are thankful to the Cardinals and obviously look forward to competing against Mizzou.”
SLU’s first home A-10 opponent is Duquesne, which comes to SLU for a three-game series beginning March 27. Other home conference opponents are Richmond, Massachusetts, Charlotte and Rhode Island. League road trips take the Billikens to Dayton, George Washington and Temple.
“It is always challenging in the Atlantic 10,” Hendrickson said. “Our guys will be exposed to the competitiveness in the league this season as we face five of the six conference tournament teams from a year ago.”
After a home A-10 series against Richmond, the Bills play a home-and-home series beginning April 7 in Edwardsville and wrapping up April 8 at the Billiken Sports Center.
Additional non-conference road games include matchups at UT Martin (April 14), Eastern Illinois (April 21) and at Missouri State (April 28). The Billikens host Illinois in a night game April 22.
Prior to its final home series against Rhode Island, Saint Louis will play a pair of tilts at GCS Ballpark. The Billikens face Southern Illinois Carbondale in the annual wood-bat game May 12, then wrap up their non-conference schedule against SIUE May 13.
SLU, which is entering its fourth season competing in the Atlantic 10, will look to finish in the top six in the league to advance to the A-10 Baseball Championship, which begins May 20 at Fifth Third Field in Dayton, Ohio.