July 30, 2009

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The BIG EAST Conference has announced that Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., has been chosen as the site of the 2010 and 2011 BIG EAST Conference Baseball Championships.

It’s a familiar site for BIG EAST fans — Bright House Field served as the site for the 2006, 2008 and 2009 BIG EAST Championships.

Regarded as one of the top minor league playing facilities in the nation, Bright House Field serves as the spring training site for the Philadelphia Phillies and it has housed the Phillies’ Florida State League affiliate Clearwater Threshers since the facility opened in 2004.

“Bright House Field has been a wonderful home for our baseball championship and we’re pleased to continue our partnerships with the Threshers and the St. Petersburg/Clearwater region,” said BIG EAST Commissioner John Marinatto. “Our student-athletes and coaches have enjoyed the opportunity to play in such a first-class facility and it is a perfect destination for our fans.”

“The welcome we received from the Threshers and the St. Petersburg/Clearwater community in our past visits to Bright House Field didn’t go unnoticed by our student-athletes, coaches and staff members,” said BIG EAST Associate Commissioner for Olympic Sports Jim Siedliski. “We’ve been able to provide our teams with memorable championship experiences at Bright House Field, and we’re excited to return for the next two years.”

“On behalf of the Clearwater Threshers and the Philadelphia Phillies organization, we are delighted to host the BIG EAST Championships again in 2010 and 2011,” said John Timberlake, the Phillies’ Director of Florida Operations. “We believe that this is a partnership that continues to grow and evolve and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the schools that comprise the BIG EAST.”

The stadium’s seating capacity is 8,500. The outfield dimensions measure 329 feet down the leftfield line, 408 feet to center, and 330 down the rightfield line. The $25 million facility features a 360-degree main concourse, grass berm seating, group picnic areas, a children’s play area and a state-of-the-art video scoreboard. The facility also will host the tournament’s annual opening ceremonies, a fan-friendly event featuring giveaways, entertainment and autograph sessions, and the BIG EAST Home Run Derby.

“Hosting the 2010 and 2011 BIG EAST Baseball Championships is a major home run for the area,” said Kevin Smith, Director of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission. “Because of our strong partnership with the Philadelphia Phillies and the BIG EAST Conference, we’ve been successful in securing this coveted event for five of the last six years. The area’s first-class sports facilities and top-notch accommodations showcase Pinellas County as a premier sports tourism destination.”

The 2010 BIG EAST Conference Baseball Championship will be played May 26-30 (Wednesday through Sunday), with the top eight teams in the regular season standings qualifying. The 2011 conference tournament will take place May 25-29. The winner of the BIG EAST Championship receives the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.

The championship games of the 2010 and 2011 BIG EAST tournaments are scheduled to be televised live on ESPNU. Fans may also visit www.BIGEASTBaseball.com to access the latest information about the championship, including ticket information, tournament brackets and a complete history of the event.

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