FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Thirty home games at Jim Patterson Stadium, a spring break trip to southern California and a second straight appearance in the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge highlight the 2011 University of Louisville baseball schedule released on Thursday by head coach Dan McDonnell.
The Cardinals, who won their second straight BIG EAST regular season title and a school record 50 games overall last season, will face a challenging road schedule in 2011. The slate includes five of the Cardinals’ nine BIG EAST Conference series and two of their non-conference weekends to be away from the friendly confines of Jim Patterson Stadium. Louisville will also play 12 games overall against teams which advanced to an NCAA Regional in 2010.
“This is one of the most challenging schedules we’ve faced since I’ve been in Louisville and it will certainly be a great test for our team,” said McDonnell, who is 185-77 in his four seasons in Louisville, including four straight NCAA appearances. “With the season-opening BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge, the road games in California and home games against great competition, we believe the pre-conference portion of the schedule should benefit our players and help prepare them for the challenges of another demanding BIG EAST Conference race.”
The Cardinals will open the 2011 season at the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge, where they will face Michigan (Feb. 18, St. Petersburg, Fla.), Ohio State (Feb. 19, Clearwater, Fla.) and Minnesota (Feb. 20, St. Petersburg, Fla.), an NCAA Regional squad in 2010. Last season, the Cards were 3-0 in their first ever appearance at the event, which is hosted by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission.
Louisville will open its home schedule with eight straight games at Jim Patterson Stadium, starting with a three-game series on Feb. 25-27 against Mid-American Conference foe Toledo. That will be followed by a mid-week home game against Morehead State on March 1, a three-game series against reigning MAC Tournament champion and 2010 NCAA Regional qualifier Kent State on March 4-6 and a mid-week game against Big Ten foe Purdue on March 8.
U of L will then take to the road for its UBS Spring Trip, which will feature five games in six days in southern California against Pepperdine (March 11-13 in Malibu) and USC (March 15-16 in Los Angeles). It will be the Cardinals first regular season games in the state of California since 2004 and just their third regular-season road trip to the state ever.
Louisville will then return home for a three-game weekend series against Xavier (March 18-20) and a mid-week game against Kent State (March 22) before opening BIG EAST Conference play on the road at Rutgers on March 25-27 in Piscataway, N.J. Along with the Scarlet Knights, the Cardinals will also play BIG EAST opponents Cincinnati (April 8-10), St. John’s (April 15-17), Seton Hall (May 5-7) and Connecticut (May 13-15) on the road. Both St. John’s and UConn earned NCAA Regional berths last season.
The Cardinals will play four BIG EAST foes at home, including West Virginia (April 1-3), USF (April 21-23), Georgetown (April 29-May 1) and Notre Dame (May 21-23). The series with the Fighting Irish will close the regular season for Louisville.
U of L will also play mid-week home games against Western Kentucky (March 29), Kentucky (April 12), Indiana (April 19), Eastern Michigan (May 3-4) and Vanderbilt (May 10). The May 4 game against EMU will be Elementary School Day at Jim Patterson Stadium (noon first pitch). The Cardinals will play mid-week road games at WKU (April 5), at Kentucky (April 26) and at Indiana (May 17).
The 2011 BIG EAST Championship is set for May 25-29 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., where the Cardinals have won the two tournament titles and have an 13-4 record overall. The 2010 NCAA Championship is set to begin on June 3 with regional play.
All radio, television and webcast arrangements for the 2011 Louisville baseball season are still being finalized and will be announced at a later date.