FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
BURLINGTON, Vt. — A pair of series against two national powers from the Southeastern Conference and 23 home games highlight the 2009 University of Vermont baseball schedule announced by the school today. The Catamounts will take on schools from a dozen different conferences including opening the 53-game schedule at Vanderbilt and Mississippi of the SEC, one of the nation’s top leagues.
“We put our 2009 schedule together to test our team early and to provide a competitive experience for our players at some of the premier programs and top college ball parks in the country,” said head coach Bill Currier who begins his 22nd season in the Vermont dugout. “The first two weekends against teams at the forefront of Division I baseball will certainly be a unique experience before we will play other Northern schools in Florida. We have found that playing challenging non-conference programs early on prepares us for our competitive America East season.”
Vermont opens its 111th baseball season with a three-game series in Nashville against Vanderbilt on February 27-March 1, 2009 and another set at Ole Miss on March 6-8. Both SEC powers advanced to the NCAA Regionals in 2008 after spending the bulk of the year ranked high in the national polls. Vandy was the 2007 SEC Champion while the Rebels were the league’s runner-up a year ago.
>From Ole Miss, the Catamounts will travel to a new venue for spring break week participating in the Russ-Matt Central Florida Tournament in Winter Haven and Auburndale, Florida, March 10-14. UVM will play five games in the tourney against Miami-Ohio and Toledo of the Mid-American Conference, Eastern Kentucky of the Ohio Valley Conference, Sacred Heart of the Northeast Conference and defending Patriot League Champion Bucknell. UVM moves to Central Florida after spending the last eight spring break weeks in Bradenton, Florida.
Vermont returns north and after road games at Hofstra, Sacred Heart, Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut, open its America East schedule with a four-game series at Stony Brook, April 3-5. The Catamounts home opener is slated for Tuesday, April 7, a doubleheader with Siena, to start the 102nd year UVM has competed at its historic Centennial Field. The next weekend Vermont will also host an in-season tournament, the Catamount Baseball Classic on April 10-12. Manhattan and NJIT will join the Cats in the three-day round-robin tournament where Vermont will play two games against each of the visitors.
In other non-league contests in April and May, UVM hosts Plattsburgh State, Dartmouth, Marist and Bryant while playing at Dartmouth and UMass.
Vermont will host conference series with Albany (April 17- 19), Hartford (May 1-3) and UMBC (May 8-10), and in addition to its trip to defending America East champ Stony Brook, will travel to Maine (April 24-26) and Binghamton (May 14-16). The Friday games against Hartford and UMBC will be held under the lights at Centennial Field.
Again this season each conference series will consist of a nine-inning opener, two seven-inning games and a nine- inning contest in the finale. The top four teams in the regular season standings will qualify for the 2009 America East Baseball Championship to be held May 21-24. The double- elimination tournament will be held at the highest qualifying seed and the conference champion will receive an automatic bid to the 2009 NCAA Baseball Championship.
The Catamounts return six starters from the everyday lineup and three members of the weekend pitching rotation from a team that went 27-24 overall last season and reached the conference tournament for the fifth time in the last seven years. Top players include senior pitchers Joe Serafin (Tariffville, Conn.), the 2008 America East of the Year, and Justin Albert (Hull, Mass.), catcher Jeff Nolet (Concord, Mass.), infielders Matt Duffy (Milton, Mass.), a 2008 Louisville Slugger, Collegiate Baseball Freshmen All-American, and Ethan Paquette (East Burke, Vt.), along with outfielders Mark Micowski (Haddam, Conn.) and Justin Milo (Edina, Minn.).