FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Home weekends against College World Series participants NC State and North Carolina and a season-opening trip to Southeastern Conference heavyweight Florida highlight the Maryland baseball team’s 2014 schedule, which was released by head coach John Szefc on Tuesday.
Maryland’s 56-game schedule includes weekend series against eight teams that qualified for the 2013 NCAA Tournament and a home-and-home against defending Colonial Athletic Association champion Towson. The slate includes 32 home games with two four-game series coming against Bryant and Massachusetts.
For the second consecutive season, Maryland will challenge one of the SEC’s premier teams on the road to open the season. After beginning the 2013 season at LSU, the Terps travel to Gainesville to face the Florida Gators (Feb. 14-16) this season. The Gators posted a 29-30 record last season and reached the NCAA Regionals.
“One of our goals is to prepare our guys for the postseason,” said Szefc. “In order to do that, you have to play the level of competition you will encounter in a NCAA Tournament. Opening the season at Florida will definitely provide that atmosphere.
“Overall, I think our non-conference schedule compliments our conference schedule well and will put us in a good position come the postseason.”
Maryland opens its home slate on Feb. 18 against Rider before welcoming NCAA qualifier Bryant to Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium for a four-game set beginning Feb. 21. After a mid-week trip to James Madison (Feb. 25), Massachusetts comes to College Park (Feb. 28-March 2) for the Terps’ second four-game series. Both of the weekend sets will feature a doubleheader on Saturday.
The Terps head to Tallahassee for their ACC opener against Florida State (March 7-9) before playing three consecutive home weekend series beginning with defending ACC champion North Carolina (March 14-16). NC State comes to town on March 21-23 with the homestand concluding the following weekend against Clemson (March 28-30).
“The ACC will certainly challenge us as a team,” said Szefc. “The first month of our conference schedule is an example of that having to play at Florida State and hosting North Carolina, NC State and Clemson.”
In addition to its matchups with the Tar Heels, Tigers and Wolfpack, Maryland will also play host to Georgia Tech (April 18-20) and ACC newcomer Notre Dame (May 2-4).
Following its three-game set with Clemson, the Terps are on the road in three of the next four weekends beginning with Wake Forest on April 4-6. Virginia Tech in Blacksburg is next on the schedule (April 11-13) with a trip to Boston College (April 25-27) closing out the stretch. The Terps play their final ACC series on the road at Pittsburgh on May 9-11.
After Bryant, Florida and Massachusetts, the non-conference schedule includes matchups with Delaware, George Mason, James Madison, Navy, Rider, Towson, UMBC, VCU and West Virginia.