COLLEGE STATION -- The back-to-back Big 12 Champion Texas A&M baseball team will battle 14 NCAA Tournament teams and play 37 games in front of the Olsen Field faithful in 2009, head coach Rob Childress announced Tuesday.
In another strong 56-game schedule, the Aggies are slated to play 26 tilts against teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2008. In fact, all but five of A&M’s opponents finished ’08 with a .500 or better record.
“We feel like we’ve put together another strong and challenging schedule,” Childress said. “I know our players and staff are excited about it, and I think our fans will be too. This schedule will give us a great chance to evaluate ourselves early in the season against tough competition, get prepared for Big 12 play and beyond, and reach for our ultimate goal of being the last team standing in Omaha.”
A&M will open the season on Friday, Feb. 20 at Olsen Field against Wright State. Following a four-game set with the Raiders and a pair of mid-week games against Centenary, the Aggies will head to Minute Maid Park for the annual Houston College Classic. Texas A&M will play three games at the home of the Houston Astros against a field that includes Baylor, Houston, Rice, UCLA and UC Irvine.
A seven-game homestand then brings the Aggies up to Big 12 play, highlighted by a mid-week showdown with national power Cal State Fullerton on March 10. It will mark the first meeting between the schools since the College World Series in 1999 and is the Titans’ first visit to Olsen Field since 1983.
Other non-conference highlights include visits by Mountain West Conference teams Utah (March 6-8) and New Mexico (March 17-18), NCAA Regional finalist Houston (April 7) and NCAA tourney teams TCU (April 28), Dallas Baptist (April 30-May 2) and Sam Houston State (May 5).
A&M will play its only non-conference road game of the year on Tuesday, April 14 at College World Series participant Rice.
Texas A&M opens Big 12 play on March 13 in Waco with the annual split-site series against Baylor, concluding the series in College Station on March 14 and 15. During conference play the Aggies will also play host to Kansas (March 27-29), Nebraska on Parents’ Weekend (April 17-19) and Oklahoma State (April 24-26), while opening the spilt-series with Texas at Olsen on May 8 in the final Big 12 home game of the year.
A&M will travel to Missouri (March 20-22), Texas Tech (April 3-5), Kansas State (April 9-11) and Texas (May 9 & 10). The Aggies will also close the regular season at Oklahoma (May 16-18) before heading just up the road to Oklahoma City for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship the following week.
“Year in and year out the Big 12 is one of the toughest leagues in the country,” Childress said. “There are no nights off, and we’ll have to be ready to play every time we step between the lines in order to successfully defend our championship.”
The Aggies return 15 letterwinners, four position starters and nine pitchers from a 2008 squad that won the Big 12 regular-season title and the NCAA College Station Regional championship. A&M enters the fall having claimed back-to-back regional titles for the first time in school history.
Texas A&M opens fall workouts on September 15, which conclude with the annual Fall World Series in late October.