FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – University of Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb announced the team’s 2014 schedule Monday, including four opponents, Coastal Carolina, Wichita State, Florida and Indiana, that reached the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Illini will look to qualify for an NCAA Regional for the third time in four years when they begin the 2014 campaign with a three-game series at Georgia State in Atlanta, Ga., from Feb. 14-16. Illinois’ home schedule begins on March 18 against Indiana State followed by a tournament featuring Eastern Illinois and Xavier at Illinois Field from March 21-23.
“I am excited about our upcoming schedule,” Hartleb said. “We put together a competitive schedule that gives us an opportunity to finish with a high RPI. Several of the teams we play are perennial powers within their conferences. We have a great mix of schools and programs that will bring different challenges to the table. I am looking forward to facing these teams and competing at a high level.”
Illinois, which is coming off its most wins (35) under ninth-year head coach Hartleb, will hit the road for the first five weekends of the season. After the season-opening GSU series, UI heads to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for Caravelle Resort’s Baseball at the Beach Tournament, where it will face a pair of 2013 NCAA Tournament participants. The Illini will play George Mason on Feb. 21 followed by games against NCAA qualifiers Coastal Carolina and Wichita State the next two days.
The next weekend boasts four games in three days in Gainesville, Fla. Illinois will play both Florida Gulf Coast and host Florida on Feb. 28 followed by a Saturday game against FGCU on March 1 and one final game against Florida on March 2. The Illini leave the state for the final time until the middle of April when they head to Bowling Green, Ky., for a three-game series at Western Kentucky (March 7-9).
Illinois will travel to Carbondale, Ill., for the fourth consecutive year for a three-game set against the Salukis from March 14-16. The Illini then return home for the first time, where they will play eight of their next nine games at Illinois Field. The 2014 home slate begins on March 18 against Indiana State. The Illini then play two games each against EIU and Xavier in Champaign from March 21-23 and a road tilt at Illinois State on March 25 before beginning Big Ten play.
The Illini will host their conference-opening series against Purdue from March 28-30 followed by a trip north to Northwestern from April 4-6. After a midweek road contest in Mattoon, Ill., against Eastern Illinois on April 8, Illinois will welcome Michigan for a series from April 11-13. The Illini remain at home for their second game of the season against Illinois State on April 15 before traveling east to Penn State from April 18-20.
The Orange and Blue will begin an eight-game home stand when they play Eastern Illinois for the fourth time on April 22 at Illinois Field. That will be followed by a visit from Indiana (April 25-27), which reached the 2013 College World Series and is ranked in the Top 10 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll. Illinois will face Southern Illinois for a fourth time on April 29 followed by its final home series against Michigan State from May 2-4.
The Illini will take on Missouri at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill., on May 6 before hitting the road for the last two weekends of Big Ten play with a series at Iowa (May 9-11) and Nebraska (May 15-17).
The Big Ten Tournament moves to TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., in 2014, and will run from May 21-25. The NCAA Tournament begins with the regional round on campus sites May 30-June 1, the super regional round runs June 6-9, and the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., lasts from June 14-25.