College Baseball Challenge Returns this Weekend

The Big Ten/BIG EAST Baseball Challenge features 19 teams, 30 games over three days

Friday, February 17, 2012

St. Pete/Clearwater, FL (February 17, 2011) - For the fourth consecutive year, a collection of college baseball's brightest stars will light up the St. Pete/Clearwater area at this weekend's Big Ten/BIG EAST Baseball Challenge.

Hosted by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, the event takes place February 17-19 at facilities in Clearwater, Dunedin and St. Pete, pairing 19 teams and hundreds of players from two of the country's most recognizable athletic conferences.

"We're excited to welcome the teams back to sunny St. Pete/Clearwater," said Kevin Smith, Director of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission. "Hosting this tournament is a great opportunity for us to highlight what makes the area unique, and the players enjoy getting out of the cold and onto our major-league caliber fields and world-class beaches."

The competition gets going today at 10 a.m. with nationally-ranked Louisville (BIG EAST) vs. Minnesota (Big Ten), West Virginia (BIG EAST) vs. Northwestern (Big Ten) and South Florida (BIG EAST) vs. Ohio State (Big Ten).

Those teams will be joined by Cincinnati, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, St. John's and Seton Hall from the BIG EAST and Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Purdue from the Big Ten.

Part of what draws these talented teams and their families to the area is the exposure to various current and former spring training facilities. Players can dig-in to the same batter's box and throw from the same mound as their heroes.

A pair of Clearwater ballparks---Bright House Field, the current spring home of the Philadelphia Phillies, and Jack Russell, the Phillies former Clearwater home---are two of the five locations that will host games. Al Lang, downtown St. Pete's legendary park that hosted Spring Training games for more than 50 years; the Walter Fuller Baseball Complex, St. Pete's five-field complex formerly used by the Tampa Bay Rays; and Dunedin's Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, spring home of the Toronto Blue Jays, will also be used. 

An all-tournament pass, which provides access to all 30 games, can be purchased for $25. Individual passes granting entry to all of that day's games at all venues are available for just $10. 

The Big Ten won the inaugural Challenge in 2009, 15-9, while the BIG EAST was victorious in 2010, 17-13, and in 2011, 14-10.

To purchase tickets online or for more information, visit the Big Ten/BIG EAST Baseball Challenge Web site at http://www.bigtenbigeastbaseballchallenge.com/. 

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is the destination marketing organization for Pinellas County, Florida.

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For more information: VisitStPeteClearwater.com
Contact: Public Relations Manager Josh Hall: Josh@VisitSPC.com
Phone: 727.464.7223

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