Highlighted by home match-ups against two of their biggest rivals and coming off a school record 33-win season, the Georgia State baseball team announced its upcoming 2009 schedule on Tuesday afternoon. The journey back to the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament begins with a four-game home series against Cleveland State on Friday, February 20th.

 

Highlighting this year’s schedule will be home games with NCAA runner-up Georgia and Georgia Tech. The Panthers will also go on the road to face South Carolina, Auburn and make a trip across town to face Georgia Tech. State will also take on all of their CAA foes, including home match-ups with UNC-Wilmington and VCU, with road trips to James Madison and William & Mary.

 

“I believe that our schedule is an upgrade from last year and that we have a team that is capable of being very competitive within that schedule,” commented Head Coach Greg Frady. “I think it is important to play our local in-state rivals and I am glad that they will be making trips to Panthersville. It gives our players a chance to play against guys who they played against growing up.”

 

The schedule includes 21 games against 30-win teams from 2008. Among those are 14 games against seven teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season. Highlighting the schedule is a home game with NCAA Runner-up and in-state rival Georgia on March 18th. State will face Georgia Tech on the road on March 24th, with the Yellow Jackets making a trip to Panthersville on April 15th. The Panthers will also make one-game road trips to South Carolina (March 3rd) and Auburn (April 7th).

 

 It is always hard to build a good, balanced schedule, but I think we were able to accomplish that this year,” commented Frady. “Sometimes you are at the mercy of your opponents as to when and where you can play them. Our coaching staff worked extremely hard to make sure that this schedule was the best that we could possibly make it.”

 

The Panthers will make a spring break trip to Daytona Beach this season for a tournament to be hosted by Bethune-Cookman, March 6-8. State will face Michigan State, Bethune-Cookman and Xavier for a pair of games. While in Florida, the Panthers will also face Central Michigan and Florida A&M.

 

“I think it is important to remember that we have to focus on our play and not necessarily who and where you are playing,” stated Frady. “When we built the schedule, we try to play the best opponents that we can, while offering us the best challenge to better ourselves one game at a time.”

 

State plays its first CAA road series against William & Mary, beginning March 20th.  The Panthers also travel to Delaware (April 3-5), Northeastern (April 17-19) and James Madison (April 24-26) during the 2009 season.

 

The Panthers will get their first CAA home series of the season when UNC-Wilmington comes to town, beginning March 27th. State will also have home series with Old Dominion (April 10-12), VCU (May 1-3) and Towson (May 8-10) to close out the conference part of the schedule.

 

Georgia State will play a very balanced schedule this season, as the Panthers will have both 28 home and 28 road games to fill out the 56 game schedule.

 

State will conclude its regular season schedule with a three games series at Youngstown State, May 14-16.

 

“We were at the mercy of the conference with our bye week coming the last week of the season,” commented Frady. “We were very fortunate that Youngstown State was the only team in the country to also not have games on those same days, so we were able to arrange a home-and-home series with them. I think it will be a great opportunity for our players to see a part of the country that they normally would not get to see, while playing in a beautiful minor league park. It will also give us a chance to get ready for road games that will await us at the CAA Championship and then on to the NCAA Tournament.”

 

Youngstown State is scheduled to make a return trip to Panthersville in 2011.

 

The regular season will conclude at the CAA Tournament, which will be held in Wilmington, N.C., May 20-23. The winner receives an automatic berth into this year’s NCAA Tournament which will begin the following week.