FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina third-year head baseball coach Bobby Moranda today released his squad’s 2010 schedule which includes six teams that made the NCAA Baseball Championships a season ago, three of which were number one seeds. The 56-game slate features 28 home dates, three-game series with each Southern Conference foe and non-conference meetings with perennial powers Clemson, Charlotte, East Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Tennessee.
The season will culminate with the return of the 2010 SoCon Baseball Championship to Riley Park in Charleston, S.C., May 26-30.
"This challenging non-conference schedule will help us prepare for a very competitive Southern Conference slate," said Moranda. "We are looking forward to the tournament atmosphere during the Keith LeClair Classic at East Carolina. Our players and coaches are honored to participate in an event that was named for one of our most respected alum. I am a big believer in a strong schedule that will challenge our players to execute the game of baseball at the highest possible level each and every time they take the field."
Western Carolina will open its 2010 season at home at Ronnie G. Childress Field at Hennon Stadium on Friday, Feb. 19 as it welcomes the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs to town for an afternoon game. The two will complete the three-game series in Forest City, N.C., at McNair Field, the home of the Coastal Plain League member, Forest City Owls, Feb. 20-21.
Additional early-season, non-conference foes visiting Cullowhee include Eastern Kentucky – Moranda’s alma mater – on Feb. 26-28, with Southern Illinois-Edwardsville coming to town for a two-game set March 9-10. It will be the first meeting between the two since 1978.
Between the EKU and SIU-Edwardsville dates, the Catamounts will again travel to Greenville, N.C., to participate in the Seventh Annual Keith LeClair Classic at East Carolina’s Clark-LeClair Stadium. The three-day tournament includes the host Pirates and Catamounts, as well as meetings with West Virginia and Illinois. The tournament is named in honor of WCU Hall of Famer, former head coach at WCU and ECU, Keith LeClair, who passed away in July of 2006 after a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Western hosts first-time foe, New York Tech, in Cullowhee at the beginning of April.
The Catamounts will also have home-and-home, non-conference meetings with Charlotte, UNC Asheville and High Point. Also, after a meeting in Knoxville on April 7, former WCU head coach Todd Raleigh will bring his Tennessee Volunteers to Childress Field/Hennon Stadium in Cullowhee on Wednesday, April 21.
"It is a testament to our program’s great tradition that Coach Raleigh and a very talented Tennessee squad will visit Cullowhee in 2010. Over the last two seasons, we have attracted BCS conference schools such as Clemson, BYU, Georgia Tech and now UT to Cullowhee. I know our fans will be very excited to welcome Todd back for this mid-week match-up," Moranda added.
Other headline road trips include visiting Georgia Tech on Tuesday, March 2 and Georgia on Wednesday, April 28.
Western Carolina, which finished 35-22 overall and 19-10 in SoCon play a season ago and won 18 of its 30 home games, will host conference opponents College of Charleston (March 26-28), Wofford (April 9-11), UNC Greensboro (April 30-May 2) and Furman (May 7-10). The Catamounts will wrap-up their 2010 regular season slate by hosting Davidson on May 20-22 before traveling to Charleston for the conference championship.
SoCon road trips this season include visiting The Citadel for its conference opener, March 12-14, with a trip to Boone and arch-rival, Appalachian State, the following weekend (March 19-21). Other road three-game conference series include at Elon (April 16-18), Georgia Southern (April 23-28) and Samford (May 14-16).
Western Carolina will resume individual preparations for the 2010 season on January 11, with the first official team practice scheduled for February 1, per NCAA regulations.