Aug. 27, 2008
Tennessee head baseball coach Todd Raleigh announced the Volunteers 2009 schedule Wednesday. In addition to the annual gauntlet of Southeastern Conference opposition, the 100th season of varsity baseball at Tennessee also features marquee non-conference games against teams such as Coastal Carolina, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Oregon State.
Seven teams on UT's schedule have made at least one appearance in the NCAA College World Series in the last four years, five won their respective conference championship in 2008 and 13 played in an NCAA Regional last season.
With several elements of the multi-million dollar renovation project currently taking place Robert M. Lindsay Field at Lindsey Nelson Stadium ready for the 2009 season, Raleigh was eager to showcase UT's new-look venue. The Vols will play a total of 35 regular-season home games, and 15 of their first 18 contests will take place in Knoxville.
Tennessee's 35 regular-season home games are the most since 2000 (37).
"I want to play in front of our home fans often, and I want to build that strong home base," Raleigh said. "We've got some great things going on at the stadium right now with the new seating down the right-field line--which are really great seats, in my opinion--and we also have a new and unique plaza area that I think our fans will really enjoy.
"The level of competition we'll be facing has also been cranked up a notch, so I think it's all going to make for a great fan experience at our ballpark."
Big Orange fans around the state also will have an opportunity to see the Vols in action outside of Knoxville. Tennessee faces ETSU in Johnson City on March 31, Georgia Tech at Chattanooga's AT&T Field on May 6 and Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro on May 12 before closing out the regular season against Vanderbilt in Nashville May 14-16.
"We want to effectively recruit the entire state of Tennessee, and we've had success so far," Raleigh said. "In order to build on that momentum, we're doing what we can to increase our visibility throughout the state. And I know we'll find support and see plenty of Orange in the stands, because UT has tremendous fans spread all across this state and the region."
In regular-season SEC play, the Vols host three-game series against Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State, Arkansas and South Carolina. Tennessee will travel for weekend showdowns at Florida, Alabama, LSU, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. For the second straight year, UT does not face Ole Miss during the regular season.
Other non-conference foes on Tennessee's 2009 schedule are Appalachian State, Austin Peay, Belmont, Charleston Southern, Lipscomb, Ohio, Tennessee Tech, UNC Asheville, USC Upstate, Western Carolina and Western Kentucky.
Tennessee heads to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to participate in the Baseball at the Beach tournament hosted by Coastal Carolina Feb. 27-March 1. The event is contested at BB&T Coastal Field, which is home to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Class-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves). A complete list of teams set to take part in that tournament is forthcoming.
The 2009 SEC Tournament, which features the league's top-eight finishers in the regular season, is set for May 20-24 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. NCAA Regional action takes place May 28-31, followed by NCAA Super Regional play on June 5-7.
The 2009 NCAA College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb., takes place June 12-22. Tennessee has made four previous appearances at the College World Series (1951, 1995, 2001 and 2005).
For Tennessee baseball season-ticket information, call (865) 656-1200 or visit UTsports.com.