MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Ed Pastilong has announced the 2010 baseball schedule, highlighted by 32 home games and five matchups against 2009 NCAA Tournament participants.
“Coach Greg Van Zant has put together one of his most competitive schedules to date,” Pastilong said. “We are looking forward to another year of exciting baseball that features several quality opponents and some very challenging early-season tournaments.”
West Virginia opens the season with three competitive tournaments. The Mountaineers start off with the Caravelle Resort Tournament in Conway, S.C., featuring games against 2009 NCAA Tournament qualifier Coastal Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia Tech on Feb. 19-21.
WVU then makes a trip to the second annual Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge in Clearwater/St. Petersburg, Fla., from Feb.
26-March 1. West Virginia will compete against reigning Big Ten champion Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State and will play an additional game against Purdue.
The final early-season tournament is the Keith LeClair Classic in Greenville, N.C., from March 5-7. West Virginia faces Western Carolina, then battles 2009 Super Regional qualifier East Carolina before finishing with Illinois.
“All three of our tournaments are ranked as some of the top tournaments in the country,” Van Zant said. “We’re going to see some real good teams early in the season, and we’re looking forward to playing against them. We’re really going to be challenged these first 10 games.”
The Mountaineers make a return trip to Charleston, W.Va., to play Eastern Kentucky in the Mountaineer Diamond Classic at Appalachian Power Park on April 13. Last season’s contest in Southern West Virginia against Kentucky featured a capacity crowd of 2,452 that saw WVU defeat the Wildcats, 10-7.
“We always look forward to playing in our state capital,” Van Zant added. “Last year we had a great turnout and a huge win over Kentucky. We can’t wait to return to Charleston and play a different opponent in Eastern Kentucky, which is a strong program out of the Ohio Valley Conference.”
WVU’s Big East schedule includes five home series against NCAA Super Regional qualifier Louisville (April 16-18), Notre Dame (May 8-9), Big East postseason runner-up Connecticut (April 1-3), Pitt (April 23-25) and Villanova (May 20-22). The Mountaineers will play Seton Hall (March 26-28), St. John’s (April 9-11), Cincinnati (April 30-May 2) and Georgetown (May 14-16) on the road.
“The Big East schedule is always difficult, and this year we’ve got five of our opponents at home,” Van Zant mentioned. “It’s a big plus to have that extra weekend at home and all our games in the conference will be tough. We do feel that we have a real attractive home schedule.”
Also mixed into the non-conference portion is another matchup against Atlantic Coast Conference rival Maryland on April 7 in College Park, Md. The Mountaineers and Terrapins have played each other in five of the last eight seasons.
WVU plays host to a two-game series against defending MEAC champion and NCAA Tournament participant Bethune-Cookman from May 11-12.
West Virginia finished 37-18 last season, its best overall mark since 1998. The Mountaineers finished third in the BIG EAST and amassed 17 conference victories, its second-most since joining the BIG EAST in 1996.
Last year’s squad also set school records for batting average (.360), RBIs (491), doubles (161), extra base hits (242) and runs scored (525).