Baseball Vols release '05 Schedule

The University of Tennessee baseball schedule has been finalized for the 2005 season.

In addition to the perennial Southeastern Conference powerhouses, the Volunteers will also tangle with a number of traditional top college baseball teams, including Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Baylor.

"Our schedule for the coming season is exciting," said head coach Rod Delmonico, who is beginning his 16th season at UT. "We return seven position starters and the core of our pitching staff which should help when facing an always challenging schedule."

Tennessee opens the 2005 campaign at Minute Maid Park in Houston in the Minute Maid Classic, Feb. 11-13. The Vols face three Big 12 teams, two of which reached the NCAA Regionals last year. When UT opens against the Texas A&M Aggies, it will mark the first time a Tennessee team has faced a team from the state of Texas. The Vols then take on the OSU Cowboys, a team they defeated in the 1995 Mideast Regional to advance to the College World Series, before facing the Baylor Bears.
"The Minute Maid Classic is an outstanding tournament to start the season," said Delmonico. "We get a chance to face three of the Big 12's better teams right out of the gate and see where we stand. I'm exciting about taking our guys to a big league park as well. Any time we get the opportunity to experience that kind of environment, we'll take it."

The home-opening series the following weekend sees the Vols tangle with Eastern Michigan (Feb. 18-20) for the second straight year before playing the first of a home-and-home against Tennessee Tech (Feb. 22 & April 20).

The Vols return to Delmonico's hometown of Wilmington, N.C., to play in the Hughes Brothers Baseball Challenge hosted by UNC Wilmington, Feb. 25-27. They open against James Madison before taking on the host Seahawks and finishing with George Mason. All three teams play in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Tennessee then returns home for a nine-game home stand, the longest of the season. It plays two three-game series against Morehead State (March 4-6) and Radford (March 11-13), while hosting three single games versus Oakland University (March 9) and a pair of in-state rivals in Belmont (March 15) and East Tennessee State (March 16).

The SEC schedule sees the Vols open against three Western Division teams. They first travel to the Plains of Alabama to the face the Auburn Tigers (March 18-20) before playing host to a pair Magnolia state teams -- Ole Miss (March 25-27) and Mississippi State (April 1-3). Sandwiched in between is a return trip to ETSU (March 23), the first of a home-and-home against UNC Asheville (March 30 & April 13) followed by Eastern Kentucky (April 5).

The league schedule continues at Kentucky (April 8-10), home for Arkansas (April 15-17) before back-to-back road trips to Vanderbilt (April 22-24) and Florida (April 29-May 1). A single home game with Furman (April 27) precedes the series with the Gators.

Tennessee concludes its conference slate with two home series against South Carolina (May 6-8) and Georgia (May 20-22) wrapped around a trip to Baton Rouge, La., to play the LSU Tigers (May 13-15). The final non-conference home tilt is May 17 against Lipscomb.

"Once again this year, the SEC -- from top to bottom -- will be as strong as it has ever been," professed Delmonico. "Not only do I expect to see many SEC teams ranked among the nation's top 25 but there are several teams that are pushing to get into the top-half of the league. To be sure, the SEC schedule will be extremely challenging, particularly our road trips."

In the postseason, the 2005 Southeastern Conference Tournament will once again be played in Birmingham, Ala., May 25-29, at the Hoover-Met Stadium. The NCAA Regionals run June 3-6 followed by the Super Regionals June 10-13. The College World Series at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb., will be held June 17-27.

2005 BASEBALL SCHEDULE

Feb. 11-13 1-at Minute Maid Classic (Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Baylor)
Feb. 18-20 EASTERN MICHIGAN
Feb. 22 TENNESSEE TECH
Feb. 25-27 2-at Hughes Brothers Baseball Challenge (James Madison, UNC Wilmington, George Mason)
March 4-6 MOREHEAD STATE
March 9 OAKLAND UNIVERSITY
March 11-13 RADFORD
March 15 BELMONT
March 16 EAST TENNESSEE STATE
March 18-20 *at Auburn
March 23 at East Tennessee State
March 25-27 *OLE MISS
March 30 UNC ASHEVILLE
April 1-3 *MISSISSIPPI STATE
April 5 EASTERN KENTUCKY
April 8-10 *at Kentucky
April 13 at UNC Asheville
April 15-17 *ARKANSAS
April 20 at Tennessee Tech
April 22-24 *at Vanderbilt
April 27 FURMAN
April 29-May 1 *at Florida
May 6-8 *SOUTH CAROLINA
May 13-15 *at LSU
May 17 LIPSCOMB
May 20-22 *GEORGIA
May 25-29 SEC Tournament
June 3-6 NCAA Regionals
June 10-13 NCAA Super Regionals
June 17-27 College World Series
*-SEC Game


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