RICHMOND, Va. – The VCU Baseball program announced its 56-game spring schedule today. The slate, which features 25 home dates, is highlighted by five games against NCAA Tournament teams, five ACC schools, and two Big East opponents.
"One of the goals of this program has always been and will continue to be to play some of the best competition in the country, and I think we have done that again this year," said VCU Associate Head Coach Shawn Stiffler. "With five opponents that played in the NCAA Regionals last year, five ACC opponents, two Big East opponents, as well as teams from the CAA, Southern Conference, Conference USA and Big South, every game will pose a new challenge."
VCU kicks off regular season play at Elon's annual tournament. The first pitch of the 2013 season comes on Feb. 15 when the Rams play Boston College in the opening round. VCU then plays Marist on the Feb. 16 and Elon on Feb. 17 in the round-robin event.
The Black and Gold begins its home slate with a non-conference weekend series against Saint Joseph's Feb. 22-24.
"We are very fortunate to play our 25-game home schedule in what we feel is one of the best home venues on the East Coast, The Diamond," said Stiffler. "Not every school has the opportunity to play its home games in a Minor League ballpark, and we look forward to playing tough competition there again this season."
The Rams begin the month of March at The Citadel Tournament in Charleston, S.C. VCU faces UNC Asheville on March 1, The Citadel on March 2 and concludes tournament play against Pittsburgh on March 3.
VCU's only true road non-conference weekend is March 8-10 when it travels to Wilmington, N.C. for a three-game set against 2012 NCAA Tournament participant UNCW.
The Rams' final non-conference series is set March 15-17 against Monmouth. All three games will be played at The Diamond.
VCU begins its inaugural season in the Atlantic 10 Conference when it hosts Butler March 22-24. In all, the Rams play eight weekend series against their new league rivals, including home series against Temple (April 12-14), Saint Louis (May 4-5) and Richmond (May 16-18).
Meanwhile, VCU's road A-10 slate features trips to Charlotte (March 29-31), reining A-10 Champion Dayton (April 19-21), La Salle (April 26-28) and George Washington (May 10-12).
"We are very excited about the new challenges of playing in the Atlantic 10 Conference," said Stiffler. "We get to go on the road and play in new places and begin new rivalries against teams we haven't played in the past. It is also exciting to renew our weekend conference series with cross-town rival Richmond."
VCU will play 14 non-conference midweek games during course of the season. The Rams will host George Mason (March 5), Wagner (March 12), Rutgers (March 19-20), Maryland (April 16), VMI (April 17), and perennial NCAA Tournament team Virginia (April 30).
The Black and Gold hit the road for midweek games against NCAA Tournament qualifiers East Carolina (Feb. 26) and North Carolina (March 26), as well as trips to Virginia Tech (April 2), Maryland (April 9 and May 7), Old Dominion (April 23), and Virginia (May 14).
The 2013 A-10 Tournament, which takes place May 22-25 at Charlotte, features the top seven teams.