FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
VILLANOVA, Pa.–Once the 2014 baseball season gets into full swing fans will have plenty of chances to see the baseball in action at the Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. The schedule was announced this afternoon and the Wildcats will play 31 home games out of their 56-game regular season slate. After playing the first 11 games of the year on the road or at neutral sites, Villanova will return home for 31 of its next 45 contests.
This season marks the debut of the new-look BIG EAST Conference and the Wildcats will play a three-game series against each of the other six conference teams. The full round-robin schedule in the league allows each BIG EAST team to have a balanced schedule of nine home games and nine road games in conference play. Villanova will host league series against St. John’s (Apr. 4-6), Creighton (Apr. 17-19) and Butler (May 15-17) while traveling to Xavier (Apr. 11-13), Seton Hall (Apr. 25-27) and Georgetown (May 2-4).
The top four teams in the conference standings will qualify for the BIG EAST Championship, which begins May 22 and will be held in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Villanova opens the 2014 season with a three-game series at Charleston Southern from February 14-16 and will then then play in the Norfolk State Invitational from February 21-23. In addition to facing a familiar foe in Norfolk State (Feb. 23) in the final game of that tournament, the Wildcats will also take on Quinnipiac (Feb. 21) and Buffalo (Feb. 22) earlier in the weekend.
The annual Spring Break trip to Florida will once again be a highlight for the team. Villanova returns to Port Charlotte for a third straight year and will play three neutral-site games in the Snowbird Baseball Classic against Nebraska-Omaha (Feb. 28), Boston College (Mar. 1) and Central Michigan (Mar. 2). The final two games of the Florida trip will be against ACC member Miami (Mar. 4-5), who the Wildcats will be facing for the first time in more than 20 years.
Villanova head coach Joe Godri has been successful in scheduling top competition for the Wildcats and the series against Miami will mark the seventh time in the last 10 years that Villanova plays a three-game series against an opponent from either the ACC or the Southeastern Conference. In addition to those series the Wildcats have also played numerous contests against top teams from the Big Ten and Big 12 over the years.
When the home schedule begins Villanova will once again be hosting the Villanova Baseball Classic from March 7-9 and the Big Five Baseball Bash from March 14-16. These two events have become very successful among the early-season tournaments played in the Northeast. The Wildcats host Niagara (Mar. 7), Iona (Mar. 8) and Central Connecticut State (Mar. 9) in the Villanova Baseball Classic and will take on Hartford (Mar. 14), St. Peter’s (Mar. 15) and former BIG EAST rival Connecticut (Mar. 16) in the Big Five Baseball Bash.
Connecticut is one of two former BIG EAST opponents that the Wildcats will play during the season. Villanova also makes a visit to Rutgers for a single game on April 29. Other non-conference opponents for the Wildcats include Northeastern (Mar. 21-23), Wagner (Mar. 28-30) and Manhattan (May 9-11), who will all come to the Villanova ballpark at Plymouth for a three-game series.
The annual Liberty Bell Classic gets underway with quarterfinal games on March 25. Villanova will host Saint Joseph’s that day, with a potential semifinal matchup one week later against Penn or Lafayette. That contest would be played on the road, and the winner would advance to the championship game of the tournament at Citizens Bank Park in April.