NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 2013 Notre Dame baseball schedule is loaded. The Irish face Ohio State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, UCLA, USC, Oklahoma, Michigan and Michigan State as well as a three-game series at Tulane and a two-game series with Kent State. That does not even include a BIG EAST slate that features road trips to Louisville and St. John’s. In all, Notre Dame will play 11 games against teams that reached the NCAA tournament, including seven against teams that advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals or College World Series.
“I think it might be a bit of an understatement when I say our schedule is a challenging one,” said third-year head coach Mik Aoki. “We certainly play a bunch of top caliber programs in the non-conference portion. Plus, we play in some pretty great venues with the USA Baseball Complex, Jackie Robinson Stadium, Dedeaux Field and even Dodger Stadium.
“I think our schedule is probably the toughest of any team in the BIG EAST. Without question, our strength of schedule will not be an issue coming down the stretch toward NCAA tournament selection time. We will most definitely have our hands full, but our players are excited about the challenge.”
Notre Dame’s four BIG EAST home series will include games versus Seton Hall, Villanova, Connecticut and USF. The Irish home slate will also feature midweek games against Kent State, UIC, Valparaiso, Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Toledo, Michigan State, Central Michigan and Western Michigan.
Notre Dame opens the 2013 season on Feb. 16-17 at the Snowbird Baseball Classic at Ed Smith Stadium (spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles) in Sarasota, Fla. The Irish play at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday against Florida Gulf Coast, 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday against Ohio State and 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday against Mercer.
Notre Dame remains on the road the next weekend (Feb. 22-24) for a three-game series against Tulane at Turchin Stadium. The Irish and Green Wave open the series at 6:30 p.m. CT on Friday, followed by a 2:00 p.m. CT game on Saturday and 1:00 p.m. CT contest on Sunday.
Notre Dame then embarks on a new venture with USA Baseball in Cary, N.C. The Irish Baseball Classic at USA Baseball is a three-day event that features Notre Dame, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Ohio. Notre Dame will play Massachusetts (3:00 p.m., Fri., March 1), Tennessee (6:30 p.m., Fri., March 1), Virginia Tech (6:00 p.m., Sat., March 2) and Rhode Island (11:00 a.m., Sun., March 3).
Notre Dame’s difficult non-conference slate grows exponentially the following weekend (March 8-10) when the Irish travel to Los Angeles, Calif., for the Dodgertown Classic. Notre Dame takes on 2012 College World Series participant UCLA at 6:00 p.m. PT on Fri., March 8, at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Irish then travel across town to face 12-time NCAA champion USC at 2:00 p.m. PT on Sat., March 9, at Dedeaux Field.
Notre Dame caps off the Dodgertown Classic with a tilt against 2012 NCAA Super Regional qualifier Oklahoma as part of a twin bill at the iconic Dodger Stadium. First-pitch for the Irish and Sooners is 10:00 a.m. PT on Sun., March 9. It marks Notre Dame’s first appearance in a Major League Baseball Stadium since 2009 when the Irish played Northwestern in U.S. Cellular Field. Notre Dame has a history of MLB stadium appearances, including the Seattle Kingdom (1995 and ’96), Minneapolis Metrodome (2000, ’03, ’06), Three Rivers Stadium (1998) and U.S. Cellular Field (2008 and ’09).
Notre Dame will remain on the West Coast as part of its spring break road trip. The Irish play UC Santa Barbara at 3:00 p.m. PT on Tues., March 12 at Uyesaka Stadium before concluding the week with a three-game series at Cal Poly (March 14-16; 6:00 p.m. PT, 6:00 p.m. PT, 1:00 p.m. PT).
Each of the 11 BIG EAST baseball teams is scheduled to play eight others in three-game series (Notre Dame will not face Georgetown in the 2013 regular season). All but one of the series involving Notre Dame will be three-day series. The Irish will play a two-day series on May 11-12 at St. John’s following Notre Dame’s academic finals.
Dates for the other Irish BIG EAST road series include March 28-30 at Louisville, April 12-14 at Pittsburgh and May 16-18 at Cincinnati. The BIG EAST home series are March 22-24 vs. Seton Hall, April 5-7 vs. Villanova, April 26-28 vs. Connecticut and May 3-5 vs. USF.
With West Virginia’s departure to the Big 12, Notre Dame will host a non-conference series on April 19-21 vs. Quinnipiac.
The BIG EAST Tournament again will be played under an eight-team format from May 22-26, at Bright House 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 26.
Tickets for the 2013 season will likely go on sale around the New Year. For more information, contact the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office, located inside the Rosenthal Atrium at Gate 9 of Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The ticket office is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday, and also can be reached by phone at (574) 631-7356. In addition, tickets may be purchased on-line through the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web page (UND.com/tickets) — all major credit cards are accepted and service charges may apply. Fans also may purchase individual tickets on game day by visiting the ticket windows outside Frank Eck Stadium beginning one hour prior to first pitch.