Baseball team to face new and traditional rivals, 24 OVC games

Baseball team to face new and traditional rivals, 24 OVC games

Click here to view the complete 2010 baseball schedule

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Traditional in-state rivalries, some teams they haven’t seen in awhile, a typically tough 24-game Ohio Valley Conference schedule and 29 homes games highlight Tennessee Tech’s 56-game 2010 baseball schedule, announced this week by head coach Matt Bragga.

In the first several weeks Tech meets teams either for the first time or the first time in recent memory, including series against Georgia Southern, Cleveland State, Bradley, South Alabama, Buffalo, Memphis and SIU-Edwardsville.

The schedule also includes familiar rivals such as Belmont, Lipscomb, Middle Tennessee and East Tennessee.

“We think it’s a great schedule that will present a lot of exciting challenges for our team,” Bragga said.

Among Tech’s 29 home contests are four OVC weekend series against Eastern Illinois, Morehead State, Austin Peay and Murray State. The Golden Eagles face conference road series at Jacksonville State, Southeast Missouri, Eastern Kentucky and Murray State.

Does Bragga think there will be a “target” on Tech’s back after winning the OVC Tournament last year?

“That’s a good thing,” Bragga said. “There are some really good teams in our conference and we look forward to the challenge. Hopefully we can have that kind of target every year.

“Our conference is a great baseball conference and it’s getting better every year. Last year our league won seven and lost eight against the SEC. We were darn near .500 against what is always the best baseball conference in the country. We got some big wins in our conference, and I think our league is an absolutely fantastic baseball conference.”

In addition to those early-season non-conference series, the Golden Eagles also have single games against Vanderbilt and Tennessee, plus home-and-home contests against in-state rivals East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee Belmont and Lipscomb.

“Those are some of our traditional non-conference rivals. They’re down the road an hour, hour-and-a-half, and a lot of guys know each other on those teams. We usually have some great games and it’s a great atmosphere for competition. They’re all good baseball teams,” Bragga said.

The 2010 slate gets underway Feb. 19-21 when the Golden Eagles head to Statesboro, Ga., to face one of their toughest obstacles, the Georgia Southern Eagle, in a three-game series. Last year, GSU posted a 42-17 overall record and captured the Southern Conference tournament crown to advance to the NCAA field for the 13th time.

“Georgia Southern won the SoCon tournament, which is an extremely strong baseball conference,” Bragga said. “It’s a great ballpark and it will be a nice way to kick off the season.”

A week later, Tech’s home schedule begins when Cleveland State visits Feb. 26-28 for a three-game set.

Other non-conference home games in the first half of the schedule find Tech hosting Bradley for three game (March 6-7), Buffalo for four (March 12-14) and SIU Edwardsville (March 26-28) for three.

“SIU Edwardsville is still considered a non-conference game but they will be in the OVC in a couple years so it will be fun to start playing a team that will be a conference opponent soon,” Bragga said.

Single-date home games in the second half of the season bring visits from Lipscomb (April 7), Belmont (April 13), East Tennessee (April 28), Middle Tennessee (May 11) and Western Carolina (May 18).

Bragga will take his squad on the road for series at South Alabama (March 9-10) and Memphis (March 19-21). The Golden Eagles face single-game trips to Vanderbilt (March 2), East Tennessee (March 17), Belmont (Marc 23), Tennessee (March 30), Lipscomb (April 6) and Middle Tennessee (April 20).

The OVC Tournament, which moves to Pringles Stadium in Jackson, Tenn., is scheduled for May 26-30 for he teams which finish in the top six places in the standings. Last year, the Golden Eagles captured the OVC Tournament title under Bragga and advanced to the NCAA Clemson Regional. This year’s NCAA Regionals are scheduled for June 5-8.