College Baseball Returns to St. Pete/Clearwater

Key Big Ten/BIG EAST tourney matchups to be streamed live online

Thursday, February 25, 2010

St. Pete/Clearwater, FL (February 25, 2010) – For the second 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 26-28 at facilities in Clearwater, Dunedin and St. Pete, pairing 20 teams and hundreds of players from two of the country’s most recognizable athletic conferences.

—We’re excited to welcome the teams back,” said Kevin Smith, Director of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission. —It’s a great opportunity for us to highlight the destination, and the players enjoy getting out of the cold and into our major-league caliber ballparks.”

Rutgers (BIG EAST) and the University of Iowa (Big Ten) kick-off the Challenge with the first of the tournament’s 30 games at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Petersburg’s Al Lang Stadium. In addition to Iowa, the Big Ten’s Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue will make the trip south. 

Louisville, the country’s 13th ranked team, will make their first Challenge appearance and be joined by BIG EAST cohorts: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, University of South Florida, Villanova and West Virginia.

Eight players from participating teams appear in Baseball America’s ‘College Top 100,’ including right-handed pitcher Alex Wimmers of Ohio State, who ranks eighth on the list of the top 100 collegiate prospects.

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 the big leaguers.

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

After providing links to in-game statistics last year, tournament organizers will offer live webcasts of nine games on CollegeBaseball360.com, the fastest-growing college baseball Web site on the Internet. 

An all-tournament pass, which provides entry to all 30 games, can be purchased for $25. Individual day passes are available for $10 and venue passes for Bright House Field and Dunedin Stadium are available for $5.

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

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

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For more information: www.VisitStPeteClearwater.com
Contact: CVB Assistant Director David Downing: David@VisitSPC.com
Phone: 727.464.7213

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