FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
DAYTON, Ohio – It could be one of the toughest regular season schedules that a Wright State baseball team has ever faced, but head coach Rob Cooper is optimistic about their chances to continue their recent success. The 2009 slate will feature eight teams that made the NCAA Tournament 2008 and an exciting 25-game home schedule.
“This year is the most challenging schedule we have had since I arrived on campus,” said head coach Rob Cooper. “The quality of the teams on this seasons schedule is evident from the beginning of the season all the way through the Horizon League Tournament. As a player or coach you want to compete against the best possible teams and this season we have some of the finest programs in the nation on our schedule.”
The Green and Gold will open their season with 13 games on the road before opening their home schedule on March 13. The season opening road trip will feature ten contests against teams that made the 2008 NCAA Tournament field. WSU travels to Texas A&M to open the season, followed by a four-game set at Tulane and a single game in the Bluegrass State against Kentucky.
Wright State will then head to Wilmington, N.C. to play four games, two against host UNC-Wilmington and two against Buckeye State foe Kent State. After a midweek trip to Ohio University, the Raiders will open up the home portion of their schedule with a Friday evening contest against Oakland and a Saturday doubleheader against Eastern Michigan as part of the WSU/UD Invitational. WSU closes out play in the Invitational with a trip to across town to tangle with rival Dayton on Sunday, March 15.
The Raiders will then entertain a trio of in-state foes before heading south for a pair of midweek games against Southeastern Conference opponents. Miami (OH) and Xavier will make a trip to Nischwitz Stadium for a pair of midweek contests and Youngstown State will make the drive south to open Horizon League play at WSU on March 20. After the weekend series with the Penguins, the Raiders will hit the road for games against National Runner-up Georgia and NCAA participant Vanderbilt.
“One thing that we’ve tried to do as a coaching staff is schedule the best possible opponent,” Cooper said. “We feel that in order to be a championship caliber team, you must step up and play the top competition in the nation. It’s exciting for our program to be able to have the chance to compete against teams that make the NCAA Tournament and are ranked year in and year out.”
WSU will then entertain Butler at home and travel to play at Cincinnati before hosting four straight home contests. The home stand starts with a three-game weekend series with LeMoyne and ends with a single game against the Bearcats on March 31.
The next eight games for coach Cooper’s squad will come on the road, starting with a three game series against Milwaukee. WSU will then travel down I-75 to compete in the Joe Nuxhall Classic on the University of Cincinnati campus starting with a game against Miami (OH). The Raiders will then make the trek to Valparaiso for a three game set with the Crusaders to reach the mid-point of the league slate.
UIC and Valparaiso will come to Dayton for a pair of doubleheaders on Friday, April 24 and Sunday, April 26, before the Raiders hit the road for seven of the next eight contests. The road swing starts with a three game set at UIC and ends with a pair of twinbills at Cleveland State and Youngstown State. In the middle of their road trips, WSU will host Dayton at Nischwitz Stadium on Tuesday, May 5.
“In my four seasons at Wright State the Horizon League has become more and more competitive,” coach Cooper said. “There are no easy games in the league, every time you step on the field you have to be ready to compete. With the success of programs like UIC and Milwaukee, along with the addition of Valparaiso you have to be prepared to play a tough 26-game schedule against your league opponents.”
Wright State will close out their schedule with four home games against Ohio opponents, starting with a Monday matchup with Toledo. Cleveland State comes to town for the final regular season weekend of 2009, with WSU honoring its seniors on the final Saturday of the regular season. The Horizon League Championship heads north to Cleveland in 2009 as the Raiders will look to recapture the Horizon League crown starting on Tuesday, May 19th at Pipe Yard Stadium in Lorain, Ohio. The Championship game of the 2009 Summit League will be on Saturday, May 23.