The Florida International baseball team recently finalized its 2010 schedule, announced head coach Turtle Thomas. The 2010 slate is packed with big-name programs both at home and on the road to go along with the always-challenging Sun Belt Conference schedule. “I think the Sun Belt getting better and better every year because we have a lot of great coaches in this conference,” Thomas said. “There are no easy ones in this league.”
FIU will play 19 games against NCAA Regional participants, 13 of them out of conference, including a meeting with College World Series participant Arizona State. “We are trying to put out guys in tough games in order to prepare them for regionals,” Thomas added. “You want to be able to play those types of teams if you can because if you’re fortunate enough to make the regionals, then you’re used to playing that quality of competition.”
FIU opens the season at home when they host the Maryland Terrapins from the ACC February 19-21. The Golden Panthers will then take on Oral Roberts
on February 26-28. Last season the Golden Eagles finished 33-15, won the Summit League and went on to the Tempe Regional where they won two games before being eliminated by Arizona State, who FIU will also play in 2010.
After the six-game homestand, FIU will hit the road for the Arizona State Surprise Tournament in Surprise, Ariz. After opening up the tournament against Utah Valley State on March 4, FIU will play UC Riverside (33-20 in ’09) March 5 and Cal Poly March 6. The Mustangs of Cal Poly finished 37-21 and also went to the Tempe Regional in 2009. The Golden Panthers then close out the tournament playing College World Series participant Arizona State on March 7. The Sun Devils, who were ranked as high as No.2 in the country in postseason polls, went 51-14 and advanced to the CWS where they won two games before being bounced by Texas.
Following the tough trip to Arizona, things don’t get much easier for FIU as they host the defending ACC champions Eagles of Boston College March 9-10. BC beat Miami in the finals of the ACC tournament last year and advanced to the Austin Regional. FIU will then host Big East member Rutgers March 12-14.
FIU will then head to the west coast of Florida on March 16 to face the Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast who were the A-Sun regular season champions in ’09 after posting a 36-18 record. FIU then hosts Southern Utah March 17 before opening up the Sun Belt schedule with a visit from the Troy Trojans March 20-23.
A visit from A-Sun tournament champions and Gainesville Regional participant Jacksonville March 23-24 will precede FIU’s next conference series as they travel to Little Rock, Ark. March 26 for a 3-game set with the UALR Trojans and then come home on April 2 to host the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. The Golden Panthers then go on the road for the first of hopefully two trips to Murfreesboro, Tenn. April 9-14 as they visit the Blue Raiders, a team that was co-regular season champions and won the Sun Belt tournament last year on their way to an NCAA Louisville Regional birth.
On April 14, FIU will face yet another NCAA regional participant as the Wildcats of Bethune Cookman come to town. After a visit from the New Orleans Privateers on April 16-17, FIU will head to Bowling Green, Ky. to face Sun Belt Conference regular season co-champions and NCAA Oxford Regional participant Western Kentucky April 23-25.
FIU plays Jacksonville again on April 27-28, this time on the road before heading home to host ULM starting April 30. A trip to Daytona Beach on May 5th will ready the Panthers for their trip to Jonesboro to face Arkansas State starting May 7. FIU then hosts South Alabama starting May 14 before facing FGCU at home and finishing the season in Boca Raton facing the Florida Atlantic Owls starting May 20.
The Sun Belt Conference Championships will be held in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on May 25-29.