Last season, the Hoyas took on the Washington Nationals in an early season exhibition. In 2009, Georgetown will kick off the season with another new experience.

The Hoyas will open the 2009 season in the inaugural Big East/Big 10 Challenge. The challenge will offer Georgetown and seven other Big East teams the opportunity to clash against various Big 10 programs for conference supremacy.

“This is a cutting-edge concept for Division I baseball,” Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese said in a press release. “It’s a terrific opportunity for our teams to play against great competition in a setting that’s conducive to high-level collegiate baseball.”

Finishing the 2008 season with an 18-32 record, the Hoyas can use this event to start anew. Georgetown is slated to face off against Northwestern, Indiana and Iowa, all respectable programs. Entering his 10th season at the helm, Head Coach Pete Wilk has compiled a 166-321 record at Georgetown.

In a format similar to that of college basketball challenges, the Big 10/Big East challenge will feature 27 games from Feb. 20-22. Uniquely, the challenge will be held at numerous spring training complexes in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Fla., area, a neutral site. Aside from the warm weather and nearby beaches, the quality of the venues will provide the challenge with a professionalized, high-intensity atmosphere, with the neutrality of the location eliminating any potential disadvantages. The event is planned to take place at the same time as major league pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training, surrounding the event with further excitement.

Kevin Smith, director of the St. Petersburg Clearwater Sports Commission says that the Big East/Big 10 Challenge will provide the area with a chance to attract a lot of baseball attention and also shine light on the numerous beaches of the area.

– Lance Pauker

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