Lauren Rabaino

A three-game series at home against UCLA, Santa Clara, UNLV and College World series participant UC Irvine highlight the 2008 Cal Poly baseball schedule announced Tuesday by Cal Poly head baseball coach Larry Lee and director of athletics Alison Cone.

The Mustangs will play exactly half of their 56 games in Baggett Stadium, hosting UCLA on March 13 to 15, Santa Clara on March 21 to 22, UC Irvine on March 28 to 30 and UNLV on May 2 to 4.

Cal Poly also will host Southern California and California for single games April 29 to 30, respectively. In all, the Mustangs will play 10 games against Pacific-10 Conference schools, including a three-game series at Washington on March 7 to 9 and single games at California on April 22 and Southern California on May 6.

Cal Poly, 32-24 a year ago for its fourth straight winning season, will play its first 11 games of the 2008 season on the road, visiting Alabama for a three-game set Feb. 22 to 24, playing four games in the University of San Diego Tournament on Feb. 28 to March 2, a single game at UC Santa Barbara on March 4 and the Washington series March 7 to 9.

The Mustangs’ home opener will be against UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday, March 11.

The Mustangs played just two midweek games a year ago. Because the start of the season has been pushed back to the third weekend in February, the Mustangs will play 13 midweek games, including four with Fresno State and two each with UC Santa Barbara, Pepperdine, Southern California and California.

“It’s another strong schedule,” Lee said. “Last year we had the fifth-strongest schedule among 293 Division I baseball programs in the country and this year should be similar in strength if not better. For the first time ever, we are playing an SEC team (Alabama), we have 10 games against Pac-10 schedule and we play our first 11 games on the road.

“With the addition of 13 midweek games, it will put a premium on our pitching staff,” Lee added, “but our players are excited to be playing such a competitive schedule. Each win will be hard-fought. It’s a challenging schedule, but we return enough players hopefully to get us through the toughest parts of our schedule.”

Cal Poly hosts Big West Conference series against UC Irvine, Pacific (April 11 to 13), UC Santa Barbara (April 25 to 27) and Long Beach State (May 16 to 18).

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