FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
A quarter of the teams listed on the 2014 Charlotte 49ers baseball schedule earned a trip to the postseason in 2013 as the program announces its spring schedule. There are 25 different opponents over a 56-game regular season, including five teams (representing 13 games on the schedule in 2014) that went to a regional last season.
That includes a pair of 2014 Conference USA opponents (Florida Atlantic and UTSA) as the 49ers return to the league that has been one of the top conferences in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) over the last decade. Florida Atlantic won the automatic bid in the Sun Belt last season, with UTSA capturing the automatic bid in the WAC a season ago. Rice, the automatic qualifier from C-USA last year is one of two teams (Marshall the other) the 49ers won’t face in the 30-game C-USA schedule.
“Niner Nation should be excited about our 2014 schedule,” said head coach Loren Hibbs, who begins his 22nd season at Charlotte. “Our primary goal during each scheduling period is to position our program for an NCAA at-large bid. If we play at a high level, this schedule will afford us that opportunity. We have 35 home games, an opening-weekend tournament, we renew some old rivalries and we have a large volume of quality NCAA Tournament-caliber non-conference games.”
Charlotte starts the year by hosting a pair of teams for a round-robin opening-weekend at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium. NCAA participant Virginia Tech, along with Youngstown State will visit February 14-16 to start the year. Each of the three teams plays a double header one of the days, with the 49ers hosting YSU on Friday at 4 p.m. and the Hokies on Saturday at noon. Charlotte will play the Penguins in the first game Sunday and Virginia Tech in the 4 p.m. finale to the weekend.
The second weekend brings in another NCAA Tournament team as MAAC Tournament champ Canisius visits for a three-game weekend series February 21-13. The 49ers will play its third and final non-conference weekend with a first-ever meeting between Big East-member Creighton to start March.
After that, the Niners play a 10-weekend league schedule in Conference USA, hosting FIU, East Carolina, Tulane, UAB and Southern Miss. and traveling to Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion, FAU, UTSA and Louisiana Tech over an 11-week period. Because of an odd number of the baseball programs in the league, Charlotte’s conference bye will occur in week five of the league slate, and the Niners will get a weekend visit from Evansville for four games in the opening weekend of April.
Charlotte has non-league home-and-home matchups with Wake Forest and Winthrop. The 49ers fans will see single games at home against VCU, Liberty (the fifth NCAA Regional team on the schedule), Rider and USC Upstate, while the team hits the road for single game trips to College of Charleston, The Citadel, Gardner-Webb and High Point during the course of the season.
The Conference USA Championships are scheduled to be held in Hattiesburg, Miss., at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field at Southern Miss. from May 21-25. The tournament will be two-bracket, double-elimination format, with a single game championship on the 25th, televised by CBS Sports Network.
Charlotte tied the school record with 29 home wins last year on its way to a 37-23 record last season, with a 17-7 league mark to win a share of the regular season title. The title was Charlotte’s fifth in eight seasons in its previous league affiliation.