FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Ten games against Pac-12 Conference schools, including defending College World Series champion UCLA, and 30 home games highlight the 2014 Cal Poly baseball schedule announced Thursday by Mustang director of athletics Don Oberhelman and head coach Larry Lee.
Cal Poly will host NCAA Super Regional participant Kansas State to open the 2014 season Feb. 14-16 in Baggett Stadium and also will play nine other games against teams which qualified for the NCAA regionals.
“It’s another very challenging schedule right from the beginning, opening up at home against a team that I thought was one of the better teams in the country,” Lee said of Kansas State, which lost to Oregon State in a Super Regional a year ago at Corvallis, Oregon. “That will be followed by three-game series on the road against national champion UCLA and (12-time national champion) USC.
“We will finish off the non-conference schedule with a four-game series at home against Cal, so our schedule definitely has a Pac-12 flavor and we’re looking forwards to the challenge,” the 12th-year Mustang mentor added.
The Mustangs host UC Santa Barbara on April 4-6 and Cal State Fullerton on April 17-19 while visiting UCLA on Feb. 21-23. All three teams along with Kansas State earned NCAA regional berths in 2013, as did Cal Poly for the second time since moving to Division I prior to the 1995 season.
The ambitious schedule includes 18 consecutive games in Baggett Stadium. The Mustangs will be home from March 11 through April 8 with three-game non-conference series against Northern Illinois and Wagner, the four-game set against Cal, Big West Conference series against UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara and single games against CSU Bakersfield and Saint Mary’s.
Northern Illinois, located in DeKalb, Ill., is a member of the Mid-American Conference and the Huskies last appeared in an NCAA regional in 1996. Wagner, from Staten Island, N.Y., plays in the Northeast Conference and the Seahawks’ lone NCAA regional appearance was in 2000.
The 10 games against Pac-12 schools include the quartet against Cal at home and three-game series at UCLA and USC on back-to-back weekends (Feb. 21-23 and Feb. 28-March 2, respectively).
The home Big West Conference slate is highlighted by a three-game set against perennial Big West champion Cal State Fullerton and also includes three-game series against UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis and UC Irvine.
Cal Poly is hosting Cal State Fullerton and UC Davis for the second straight year. A new conference schedule without byes was created earlier this year when San Diego State briefly joined the conference and Pacific announced its intention to move from the Big West to the West Coast Conference. The Aztecs dropped out of the equation after the schedule had been drafted, returning to the Mountain West. Instead of redrawing the schedule, the nine remaining Big West teams ended up with bye weeks.
For Cal Poly, the bye occurs on the Memorial Day weekend. The Mustangs will not play a game during the final week of the regular season.
“The only downside part of our schedule is that we have a bye in the last week of the regular season and we were unable to fill that week due to conference tournaments around the country,” said Lee. “Except for finals week in March, we will play a midweek game every week. We have to fit 56 games into one less week this year.”
The 24-game conference schedule features four series at home and four on the road with one bye weekend for each of the nine teams. In addition to hosting Cal State Fullerton and UC Davis for the second straight year, the Mustangs also visit Long Beach State for the second year in a row.
Cal Poly’s home midweek games, all on Tuesdays, will be against Santa Clara on March 4, CSU Bakersfield on April 1, Saint Mary’s on April 8, San Jose State on April 22 and Pepperdine on May 6.
The Mustangs visit Santa Clara on Feb. 18, San Jose State on Feb. 25, CSU Bakersfield on April 15, Pepperdine on April 29 and Saint Mary’s on May 13.
Cal Poly has played 29 of its 56 games at home each of the last two years. No doubleheaders are scheduled. None was scheduled last year as well, but due to weather concerns, the Mustangs and Kansas State opened their series in Manhattan with a doubleheader a year ago.
Cal Poly swept the twinbill as part of a 13-1 start and finished 40-19 overall, placing second in the Big West Conference for the second straight year at 17-10. The Mustangs have posted 11 winning seasons and nine 30-victory campaigns since 2000 and won 40 games for the third time in school history.