FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Kentucky baseball team will play 20 games against teams in the 2013 NCAA Tournament field and 25 games against 2013 top-50 RPI teams, as part of a grueling 2014 schedule, it was announced by sixth-year head coach Gary Henderson.
Kentucky will play a challenging 56-game 2014 schedule, facing a 2013 NCAA Tournament team 20 times, or 36-percent of its schedule, and will face the nation’s top league test in the Southeastern Conference 30-game slate. UK will also play 25 games vs. teams that finished the 2013 season in the top-50 in the NCAA’s RPI. The Wildcats will also host 30 games at Cliff Hagan Stadium during the 2014 season.
“We are excited about our 2014 schedule,” Henderson said. “It is always important when we start working on our schedule to find some good non-league tests. We will have some matchups against some teams in the 2013 NCAA Tournament a year ago as we get ready for conference action. And as always, the SEC is the toughest league in the nation, from top to bottom, and it will present some great challenges every weekend.”
UK will play 26 games away from Cliff Hagan Stadium, including a pair of invitational tournaments to open up the campaign. UK will kick off the season with a marquee matchup against Virginia (50-12) on Feb. 14 in Wilmington, N.C., with the Cavaliers coming off a season that ended with a No. 5 NCAA RPI.
UK will continue its swing in North Carolina, with host UNC Wilmington (38-23) – a 2013 NCAA Tournament team – on Feb. 15 at 4 p.m. ET. UK will conclude the season-opening weekend with VMI (20-35) on Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. ET.
On the way back to Lexington after the UNC Wilmington trip, the Wildcats will stop at USC Upstate (28-30) for the third consecutive season. UK will face the Spartans on Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. ET in Spartanburg, S.C.
UK will then hit the road for the second consecutive weekend, traveling to Norfolk, Va., for three games on the campus of Old Dominion. UK will face St. Joseph’s (26-34) on Feb. 21, host ODU (30-24) on Feb. 22 and St. John’s (23-35) on Feb. 23 to conclude the season-opening road swing.
Kentucky will then open its home schedule at Cliff Hagan Stadium with Wright State (25-30) on Feb. 25 and Dayton (16-39-1) on Feb. 26, then welcomes Eastern Michigan (26-28) for the first series of the year in Lexington, Feb. 28-March 2.
The Wildcats then hit the road on March 5 at Cincinnati (24-32) at Marge Schott Stadium, before the Bearcats return the trip on March 6 to Cliff Hagan Stadium. UK then kicks off its final non-conference weekend series of the year with Ball State (31-24) March 7-9 at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
UK opens SEC action with a trip to one of the top young rosters in college baseball, facing Alabama (35-28) in Tuscaloosa, Ala., March 14-16. UK’s SEC road trips will include Vanderbilt (54-12) on March 28-30), Texas A&M (34-29) on April 18-20, Tennessee (22-30) on May 2-4 and Georgia (21-32) on May 15-17.
Kentucky will host SEC tilts with South Carolina (43-20) on March 21-23, Florida (29-30) on April 4-6, Missouri (18-32) on April 11-13, Ole Miss (38-24) on April 25-27 and Auburn (33-23) on May 9-11 at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Mixed throughout the challenging weekend SEC schedules are some midweek tests against non-league teams. UK will play Indiana (49-16) on March 11 in Bloomington, at Louisville (51-14) on April 15 and at Murray State (21-33) in Paducah, Ky., on May 13.
Home midweek tilts include matchups with Northern Kentucky (8-47) on March 12, Western Kentucky (28-29) on March 18, Xavier (32-26) on March 25, Louisville on April 1, Morehead State (16-40) on April 8, Tennessee Tech (40-17) on April 22.
The SEC Tournament will be held in Hoover, Ala., at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium from May 20-25.
The Wildcats return a bevy of talent from its 2013 season, including some of the top players in program history. Centerfielder Austin Cousino and two-way standout A.J. Reed return after playing the summer with the USA Collegiate National Team. Right-handed pitching standouts Chandler Shepherd and Kyle Cody pitched well in the Cape Cod League, with Shepherd earning All-Star accolades. UK also returns lineup standouts in 2013 All-SEC Freshman Team selections, outfielder Kyle Barrett and catcher Greg Fettes, in addition to dynamic third baseman Max Kuhn and senior shortstop Matt Reida.