Oct. 21, 2008

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The schedule for the inaugural BIG EAST/Big Ten Baseball Challenge, hosted by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, has been released, API Management and Marketing announced today. Twenty-seven games will be held Feb. 20-22, 2009, at venues in St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Dunedin, Fla., highlighted by Friday and Saturday evening doubleheaders at Knology Park and Bright House Field.

Notre Dame will play Ohio State, Illinois and Purdue that weekend. The Irish will face the Buckeyes at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 20 at Knology Park. Notre Dame will then meet the Fightin’ Illini at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21 at Progress Energy Park before closing the weekend with the Boilermakers at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22.

All 10 of the Big Ten’s baseball-playing institutions will compete in the inaugural event, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue. Eight BIG EAST representatives will participate, including USF, Connecticut, Georgetown, St. John’s, Seton Hall, West Virginia, Cincinnati and Notre Dame. Each day there will be eight games that feature a BIG EAST team taking on a club from the Big Ten along with one non-conference contest in which two Big Ten schools face off.

Other venues to be utilized include the Raymond A. Naimoli Complex, the Tampa Bay Rays’ former spring training facility in St. Petersburg; Progress Energy Park, the Rays’ former spring training stadium in St. Petersburg; and Jack Russell Stadium, the former spring home of the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater. There will be games in four of the five venues on Friday and Saturday, including marquee evening matchups at Knology Friday, February 20, at 4 p.m. ET and 7:30 p.m. ET and in the same time slots at Bright House Saturday, February 21. Jack Russell Stadium and Progress Energy Park each will host three games per day Friday and Saturday and two Sunday.

The 4 p.m. ET game at Knology, the state-of-the-art spring training stadium of the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, February 20, will feature Penn State and St. John’s, with the 7:30 p.m. ET contest pitting Ohio State against Notre Dame. Michigan and Cincinnati will tangle at Bright House, the Toronto Blue Jays’ spring training stadium, Saturday, February 21, at 4 p.m. ET, followed by Purdue vs. USF at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Purdue-USF contest will be televised locally by Bright House Sports Network.

The inaugural BIG EAST/Big Ten Baseball challenge will conclude Sunday, February 22, with four games at various venues all starting at 1 p.m. ET. The day is highlighted by a matchup featuring defending Big Ten champion Michigan and reigning BIG EAST regular-season champ St. John’s at Progress Energy Park.

The complete tournament schedule can be found below. Ticket information and other pertinent event details will be released in the near future.

February 20-22, 2009

Friday, February 20
10 a.m.
Indiana vs. West Virginia, Progress Energy Park
Michigan State vs. Connecticut, Jack Russell Stadium

1 p.m.
Minnesota vs. Seton Hall, Progress Energy Park
Michigan vs. USF, Jack Russell Stadium
Purdue vs. Cincinnati, Naimoli Complex

4 p.m.
Penn State vs. St. John’s, Knology Park
Northwestern vs. Georgetown, Progress Energy Park
Illinois vs. Iowa, Jack Russell Stadium

7:30 p.m.
Ohio State vs. Notre Dame, Knology Park

Saturday, February 21
10 a.m.
Michigan State vs. Seton Hall, Progress Energy Park
Minnesota vs. West Virginia, Jack Russell Stadium

1 p.m.
Illinois vs. Notre Dame, Progress Energy Park
Iowa vs. St. John’s, Jack Russell Stadium
Penn State vs. Northwestern, Naimoli Complex

4 p.m.
Michigan vs. Cincinnati, Bright House Field
Ohio State vs. Connecticut, Progress Energy Park
Indiana vs. Georgetown, Jack Russell Stadium

7:30 p.m.
Purdue vs. USF*, Bright House Field
* Game televised by Bright House Sports Network

Sunday, February 22
10 a.m.
Ohio State vs. Cincinnati, Progress Energy Park
Penn State vs. Seton Hall, Jack Russell Stadium
Northwestern vs. Connecticut, Naimoli Complex
Minnesota vs. Michigan State, Naimoli Complex
Iowa vs. Georgetown, Naimoli Complex

1 p.m.
Michigan vs. St. John’s, Progress Energy Park
Purdue vs. Notre Dame, Jack Russell Stadium
Indiana vs. USF, Naimoli Complex
Illinois vs. West Virginia, Naimoli Complex

— ND —