Auburn released its 2014 baseball schedule Wednesday morning, showing the path Sunny Golloway will take in his first season on the Plains. While it leaves a little to be desired, it's certainly better than last year.
The Tigers open the season on the road at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla., Feb. 14-16. The tournament will be played at the Tampa Bay Rays' spring training facility and includes Ohio State, Indiana State and Connecticut, an NCAA tourney team from a year ago. The following weekend, Auburn will host its annual tournament, facing East Tennessee State, California and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Cal missed the tourney last year, but the Bears have been three times since 2008 and they made it to Omaha in 2011.
The final two non-conference series are set for Plainsman Park against Presbyterian and Mercer.
The sixth-annual Capital City Classic will be played against Alabama at Montgomery's Riverwalk Stadium on Tuesday, March 4. The rest of the Tigers' midweek contests are against the usual suspects: home games against Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Kennesaw State, Coppin State, Samford, Troy, South Alabama, Bethune-Cookman and UAB, and return trips to Kennesaw and Samford. Aside from the matchup against South Alabama, which went 43-20 and advanced to the Starkville Regional last year, there's not much to celebrate midweek.
While the non-conference slate might not be great, Auburn makes up for it in SEC play. The Tigers have home series against Texas A&M, Missouri, South Carolina, Mississippi State and LSU, and road trips to Tennessee, Ole Miss, Alabama, Arkansas and Kentucky.
Golloway says starting the year away from home will be a good test for his team.
"I think our pre-conference schedule is going to be a demanding one," Golloway said in the school's official press release. "We tweaked it a little so we could travel as a team (to open the season). I think it's always good to travel as a team, it gives a new team and a new coaching staff an opportunity to become a lot closer when you're on the road, so that's why we set that first weekend to be on the road. Down the road, I think we'd much rather be able to open at home. It's exciting for our fans and our players. But this year, I think it would be best-suited for us to go on the road.
"It's going to be very demanding. We're going to have Ohio State, Indiana State and Connecticut. UConn is a team that always makes the NCAA Tournament; in fact, I had a chance to compete against them in a regional last year, so I know how talented they're going to be early on. That's going to be a great test for us."
For the complete schedule, click here.
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