College Sports

7 NCAA tournament teams on Charlotte 49ers’ ‘toughest’ baseball schedule

Loren Hibbs has been the Charlotte 49ers’ baseball coach the past 24 seasons.
Loren Hibbs has been the Charlotte 49ers’ baseball coach the past 24 seasons. mhames@charlotteobserver.com

Seven opponents that played in the NCAA tournament last season are part of a Charlotte 49ers’ 2017 baseball schedule coach Loren Hibbs calls the school’s toughest ever.

“Top to bottom, it’s the most difficult schedule in the history of our program,” says Hibbs, who will enter his 25th season as the school’s coach.

Charlotte will open its season Feb. 17-19 at home against West Virginia, which was 36-22 last season and lost to TCU in the Big 12 tournament finals.

The 49ers’ first road game, Feb. 21, will send them to South Carolina for a meeting against the nationally ranked Gamecocks. The schools haven’t met since the 2008 NCAA Regional tournament.

The schedule also includes two games against N.C. State, including a March 28 contest at BB&T Ballpark in uptown Charlotte. The schedule also includes games against Xavier, an NCAA qualifier from the Big East, and East Carolina, which reached the NCAA Super Regional round in June.

“We will have the opportunity to compete against several great programs from outstanding conferences prior to, and during, our C-USA schedule,” Hibbs said.

The Conference USA tournament is May 24-28 in Biloxi, Miss.

The 55-game schedule includes 32 home contests. The 49ers, 23-32 in 2016, have all but three players returning in 2017 and picked up several promising transfer students.

Game times will be announced later. The 2017 schedule:

FEBRUARY

17, 18, 19 (Friday-Sunday): West Virginia; 21 (Tuesday): at South Carolina; 24, 25 (doubleheader), 26 (Friday-Sunday): Rider.

MARCH

1 (Wednesday): at N.C. State; 3, 4, 5 (Friday-Sunday): Xavier; 7 (Tuesday): at N.C. A&T; 10, 11, 12 (Friday-Sunday): at East Carolina; 14 (Tuesday): UNC-Asheville; 17, 18, 19 (Friday-Sunday): at Florida International; 21 (Tuesday): Wake Forest; 24, 25, 26 (Friday-Sunday): Louisiana Tech; 28 (Tuesday): N.C. State, at BB&T Ballpark.

APRIL

March 31, April 1-2 (Friday-Sunday): at Old Dominion; 4 (Tuesday): Winthrop; 7, 8, 9 (Friday-Sunday): Florida Atlantic; 11 (Tuesday): N.C. A&T; 13, 14, 15 (Thursday-Saturday): at Western Kentucky; 17 (Monday): Western Carolina; 18 (Tuesday): at Wake Forest; 21, 22, 23 (Friday-Sunday): Middle Tennessee; 28, 29, 30 (Friday-Sunday): at UAB.

MAY

5, 6, 7 (Friday-Sunday): Rice; 12, 13, 14 (Friday-Sunday): at Texas San Antonio; 16 (Tuesday): at Winthrop; 18, 19, 20 (Thursday-Saturday): at Marshall. 24-28: Conference USA Tournament, at Biloxi, Miss.

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