Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2010 BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge Schedule Set

Ohio State will play South Florida, Notre Dame and Cincinnati in second year of event

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The schedule for the second BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge is set and the Ohio State baseball team will play South Florida, Notre Dame and Cincinnati in the 20-team, 30-game event that will be held in the St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Fla., area in February.

The Buckeyes, who went 3-0 in the event last year with wins over Notre Dame, Connecticut and Cincinnati, will open Challenge play Friday, Feb. 26 at 4:30 p.m. against South Florida. The game will be played at Al Lang Stadium, which is located in St. Petersburg. This will be the first meeting between the Buckeyes and the Bulls in 13 years. USF is coming off a 34-25 season in 2009, a record that included an 18-7 mark (second) in BIG EAST play. The Bulls were eliminated in the semifinals of the BIG EAST tournament.

Ohio State and Notre Dame will hook up for the second consecutive year in the Challenge Saturday, Feb. 27 at 4 p.m. The game will be played in Clearwater at the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies: Bright House Field. Notre Dame was 36-23 last season and 15-12 in the BIG EAST (fourth). The Fighting Irish lost in the semifinals of the BIG EAST tournament.

The Buckeyes will close their Challenge games Sunday, Feb. 28 against Cincinnati, their Sunday opponent in last year’s event. The teams will square off at 1 p.m. in St. Petersburg at the Naimoli Complex. Cincinnati was 29-29 last season, 13-14 in the BIG EAST and was the eighth seed in the BIG EAST tournament.

A special BIG EAST/Big Ten Baseball Festival, a celebration of spring baseball in Florida, will take place at the Naimoli Complex on Sunday. The site will host six Challenge games throughout the day.

Last year’s Challenge, which featured eight programs from the BIG EAST and all 10 Big Ten baseball-playing institutions, was won by the Big Ten, 15-9. Georgetown, which competed in 2009, will not be back in 2010, allowing newcomers Rutgers, Louisville and Villanova to participate. Rounding out the BIG EAST contingent is Cincinnati, Connecticut, Notre Dame, St. John’s, Seton Hall, South Florida (USF) and West Virginia. Big Ten participants include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue.

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