Jim Penders and the Huskies are primed to take on one of the most challenging schedules in program history this season
Oct. 2, 2013
After making a run to the BIG EAST Tournament Championship and an NCAA Regional appearance in 2013, the UConn baseball team has announced its 56-game schedule for the upcoming 2014 season. The new year will mark UConn’s first in the American Athletic Conference. All game times will be announced at a later date.
“We have always scheduled aggressively, and the 2014 slate is no different,” UConn head coach Jim Penders said. “With so many new conference opponents and destinations, we will have plenty of differences, but our intent is the same: in order to be the best you have to beat the best. The only way to do that is to schedule quality teams.”
“We played five games against the 2013 College World Series field during last season, and our 2014 schedule features seven games with teams that have been to Omaha in ’12 or ’13,” the Husky skipper continued.
UConn opens the season at the Port Charlotte Tournament in Port Charlotte, Fla. The Huskies will take on Ohio State, Indiana State and Auburn from Feb. 14-16. UConn has never faced Auburn, and is 7-7 all-time against ISU and OSU. A week later, they continue early season play in the south with games against Wichita State, Coastal Carolina and Illinois at the Caravelle Resort’s Baseball at the Beach Tournament in Conway, S.C. Illinois and Coastal Carolina both went to the NCAA Regionals in 2013. WSU is a new opponent for UConn, while the Huskies have played just four games all-time against Coastal and Illinois.
Up next is a pair of road series against southern schools, with a three-game set in Nashville against Lipscomb set for Feb. 28-March 2, before the Huskies visit Gainesville, Fla. for three with the Florida Gators on March 7-9. Florida went to the College World Series in 2012, and has advanced to at least the NCAA Regionals every year since 2009. UConn and UF have played five times in a series dating back to 1968, which has seen the Gators hold a 2-3 edge.
Connecticut’s first game in its home state is a March 12 date at Sacred Heart, and the Huskies will then stay north with a trip to Philadelphia to participate in the Big 5 Baseball Bash on March 14-16. UConn will take on St. Peter’s, La Salle and Villanova in Philly. St. Peter’s and La Salle are brand-new opponents for the Huskies, while they hold a 36-24 edge over Villanova in the all-time series with the former BIG EAST rival.
UConn then heads back to Florida for a pair of neutral games against Harvard (March 18) and Central Connecticut (March 19), regional foes it has totaled a 29-15 record against. American Athletic Conference play then gets underway on March 21 with a three-game series at South Florida. The Huskies and Bulls have met 43 times dating back to 1968, with USF leading the series 25-18.
“The conference is going to be extremely challenging, and we hope our early season travels will prepare us for a tough inaugural season in The American,” Penders said. “Twenty-six of our 56 contests will be against teams from south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2014.”
The 2014 home opener at J.O. Christian Field comes on March 25, when UConn kicks off a six-game home stand with the Hartford Hawks. UConn is 36-12 all-time against its closest neighbor. After CCSU visits for its second contest of the year, UConn hosts an American series against Rutgers from March 28-30. RU holds the all-time series edge, 29-34.
The season rolls on into April with UConn playing seven games in a row against regional rivals. After a trip to Boston College on April 1, Yale, Bryant (twice) and Stony Brook visit Storrs. UConn is 39-21-1 against Yale, and 5-1 combined against Bryant and Stony Brook. The Seawolves advanced to the 2012 College World Series, while Bryant made the NCAA Regionals last year.
After a game at Northeastern and at home vs. Brown, conference play kicks back up with a trip to Cincinnati for three against the Bearcats from April 11-13. UConn is 12-8 against its former BIG EAST foe.
The remainder of the season gets into a week-by-week routine of conference series alternating with mid-week regional games. Temple visits Storrs for an American Series April 17-19, sandwiched by midweek match-ups at Fairfield, UMass and Quinnipiac. The Huskies travel to Louisville for three with the 2013 College World Series participant Cardinals from April 25-26, against whom UConn is 10-15 all-time.
A game at Holy Cross is all that separates the UofL series with a three-game American set down at Memphis to begin May, where the Huskies and Tigers will square off for just the third time ever on May 2-4. That concludes an eight-game road swing before Houston comes to Storrs for a conference doubleheader, marking the first time the two teams will face off. Rhode Island visits on May 13 for the non-conference finale, before UCF visits for the regular season finale from May 15-17. The Huskies and Knights met for the first time last season, a UCF victory.
Postseason play begins on May 21 with The American Tournament in Clearwater, Fla., which runs until May 25. NCAA Regionals begin on June 1, with Super Regionals going from June 6-8 before the College World Series in Omaha begins June 14.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a schedule quite like the one we’re going to play in 2014,” Penders said. “We hope our fans are as excited about the schedule as we are.”