FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame baseball team’s 2011 schedule, recently finalized and approved for release, will include early-season trips to Florida, Washington, South Carolina, North Carolina and Texas along with BIG EAST road series at Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Rutgers and Louisville. The slate also features the third annual BIG EAST-Big Ten Baseball Challenge, hosted by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission.
Notre Dame’s five BIG EAST home series will include games versus Georgetown, Connecticut, West Virginia, Seton Hall and USF. The Irish will also host Michigan State and play a home-and-home series with Michigan, while the midweek games at Frank Eck Stadium will feature some of Notre Dame’s traditional non-conference rivals, most notably UIC, Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Toledo.
In all, Notre Dame will play 11 games (St. John’s, Coastal Carolina, Connecticut, Louisville and Kent State) against teams that reached the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
The Irish will open the 2011 season in the Dunedin/St. Petersburg area for the third annual BIG EAST-Big Ten Baseball Challenge on Feb. 18-20. Notre Dame plays at 4:00 p.m. on Friday against Michigan State at Dunedin Stadium, 4:00 p.m. on Saturday against Purdue at Al Lang/Progressive Energy Park and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday against Penn State at the Naimoli Complex.
The Irish head out to the Great Northwest for a three-game series with Seattle University on Feb. 25-27. All three games were to be played in Safeco Field, home of MLB’s Seattle Mariners, but a scheduling conflict has moved the series with the Redhawks to Bannerwood Park. First-pitch for the games in the series are scheduled for 4:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and Noon (PT).
Notre Dame then travels to Rock Hill, S.C. for the Winthrop Invitational on March 4-6. The Irish play at Noon (ET) against Manhattan and at 4:00 p.m. (ET) against the host Eagles on Friday. Notre Dame and Winthrop meet again at 4:00 p.m. (ET) on Saturday before the Irish conclude the weekend at 11:00 a.m. (ET) on Sunday against the Jaspers.
Notre Dame returns to the Carolinas to open its Spring Break trip, but this time North Carolina at the Caravelle Resort Classic hosted by Coastal Carolina on March 12-13. The Irish open the weekend with back-to-back games at 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday against UAB and the host Chanticleers. Notre Dame then faces Kent State at 11:00 a.m. (ET) on Sunday.
The Irish will then head to the Southwest for a mid-week contest at 6:00 p.m. (CT) on March 15 against UT-San Antonio before concluding the Spring Break schedule in the familiar surroundings of San Antonio (March 17-20) at Wolff Stadium. The Irish will face Iowa at 4:00 p.m. and Noon (CT), respectively, on Thursday and Friday, and Gonzaga at Noon and 11:00 a.m. (CT) on Saturday and Sunday.
Each of the 12 BIG EAST baseball teams is again scheduled to play nine others in three-game series (Notre Dame will not face Cincinnati or Villanova in the 2011 regular season). All but two of the series involving Notre Dame will be three-day series, with a pair of nine-inning doubleheaders scheduled for the opening day of the two-day series at St. John’s (April 21-23) and at Rutgers (May 7-8).
In addition to those games mentioned above, dates for Notre Dame’s other BIG EAST road series include April 1-3 at Pittsburgh and May 19-21 at Louisville. The BIG EAST home series are March 25-27 vs. Georgetown, April 8-10 vs. Connecticut, April 15-17 vs. West Virginia, April 29-May 1 vs. Seton Hall and May 13-15 vs. USF.
The BIG EAST Tournament again will be played under an eight-team format from May 25-28, at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater, Fla. The format will mirror the College World Series with two four-team brackets playing double-elimination games on the first four days. The bracket winners then will meet in a single title game on May 28.