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Big East-Big Ten Challenge Games Moved to Bradenton, USF

The Big Ten will open the 2009 baseball season at the Big East-Big Ten Challenge on Feb. 20.

The Big Ten will open the 2009 baseball season at the Big East-Big Ten Challenge on Feb. 20.


ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Due to the recent unavailability of Progress Energy Park, the schedule for the inaugural BIG EAST-Big Ten Baseball Challenge has been adjusted to include games at McKechnie Field in Bradenton and Red McEwen Field at the University of South Florida. The BIG EAST-Big Ten Baseball Challenge, hosted by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, begins on Friday, Feb. 20.

McKechnie Field will host a pair of doubleheaders on the evenings of Friday and Saturday, Feb. 20 and 21, and Red McEwen Field will host one neutral game that Saturday and two on Sunday, Feb. 22. Another contest scheduled for Progress Energy Park on Saturday will be shifted to Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater.

“Everybody involved with the Challenge has pitched in to help us come up with a solution to this situation under very trying, last-minute circumstances,” said Kevin Smith, Director of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission. “Unfortunately, the field at Progress Energy Park was damaged and deemed unplayable following a Super Bowl event. The grounds crew worked hard to get the field ready, but at some point with 18 NCAA Division I baseball teams making final preparations for the event, we had to make a decision to look elsewhere. That’s when the folks in Bradenton and at USF and Jack Russell really came through for us. It was a trying week, but I think we came up with a solution that will make everyone happy.”

The BIG EAST-Big Ten Baseball Challenge will take place at facilities in the St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Bradenton, Dunedin and Tampa Bay areas from Feb. 20-22. All 10 of the Big Ten’s baseball-playing institutions will compete in the inaugural event, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue. 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. Tickets to the BIG EAST-Big Ten Baseball Challenge are available online at Those interested in purchasing tickets via phone can call event manager API Management & Marketing at 410-472-3500.

An all-tournament pass, which provides access to all 27 games of the Challenge, can be purchased for $10. Individual venue passes are available for $5. The revised tournament schedule can be found below. For more information please call 410-472-3500 or send an email to

February 20-22, 2009

Friday, February 20
10 a.m.
Connecticut at Michigan State, Jack Russell Stadium

1 p.m.
South Florida at Michigan, Jack Russell Stadium
Cincinnati at Purdue, Naimoli Complex

4 p.m.
St. John’s at Penn State, Dunedin Stadium
Seton Hall at Minnesota, Jack Russell Stadium
West Virginia at Indiana, McKechnie Field

7:30 p.m.
Notre Dame at Ohio State, Dunedin Stadium
Illinois at Iowa, Jack Russell Stadium
Georgetown at Northwestern, McKechnie Field

Saturday, February 21
10 a.m.
Minnesota at West Virginia, Jack Russell Stadium

1 p.m.
Indiana at Georgetown, Red McEwen Field
Iowa at St. John’s, Jack Russell Stadium
Penn State at Northwestern, Naimoli Complex

4 p.m.
Michigan at Cincinnati, Bright House Field
Michigan State at Seton Hall, McKechnie Field
Ohio State at Connecticut, Jack Russell Stadium

7:30 p.m.
Purdue at South Florida*, Bright House Field
Illinois at Notre Dame, McKechnie Field

* Game televised by Bright House Sports Network

Sunday, February 22
10 a.m.
Ohio State at Cincinnati, Red McEwen Field
Penn State at Seton Hall, Jack Russell Stadium
Minnesota at Michigan State, Naimoli Complex
Georgetown at Iowa, Naimoli Complex

11 a.m.
Northwestern at Connecticut, Naimoli Complex

1 p.m.
Michigan at St. John’s, Red McEwen Field
Notre Dame at Purdue, Jack Russell Stadium
Indiana at South Florida, Naimoli Complex
West Virginia at Illinois, Naimoli Complex

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