HOMEWOOD SUITES TOURNAMENT
at Riley Park (after first game, times approximate)
Friday: Noon -- Louisville vs. West Virginia; 3:30 p.m. -- The Citadel vs. Virginia Tech.
Saturday: 11 a.m. -- Virginia Tech vs. Delaware; 2:30 p.m. -- The Citadel vs. Louisville; 6 p.m. -- West Virginia vs. Delaware.
Sunday: 10 a.m. -- Louisville vs. Delaware; 1:30 p.m. -- The Citadel vs. West Virginia.
Citadel coach Fred Jordan never doubted that ex-Bulldog Dan McDonnell had what it took to make Louisville a national college baseball power.
"He did the smart thing," Jordan says with a laugh. "On the day he was hired, Dan hired Chris Lemonis away from me. And he didn't even call me. He just took him."
McDonnell, hired by Louisville as head coach in 2006, and his former Citadel teammate Lemonis have led the Cardinals to two College World Series appearances, last year and in 2007. They bring the Cardinals to Riley Park this weekend for The Citadel's season-opening Homewood Suites Tournament presented by Charleston Crab House.
Lest you think Jordan holds a grudge, The Citadel's Diamond Dogs club will host an alumni event after Saturday's game between the Cardinals and Bulldogs, with more than 150 set to attend.
"Those two guys helped us a great deal for 20 years combined, and we're excited for what they are doing now," said Jordan, whose team will play Virginia Tech on Friday, Louisville on Saturday and West Virginia on Sunday.
McDonnell, who played a gritty second base on Citadel legend Chal Port's College World Series team in 1990, was a Citadel assistant under Jordan from 1993-2000. He developed a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the nation as an assistant at Ole Miss from 2001-06. Lemonis graduated from The Citadel in 1992 and worked as an assistant for Jordan from 1995-2006.
At Louisville, the pair have led the Cardinals to six NCAA regional appearances, two Big East tournament titles and four Big East regular-season titles. Louisville, ranked No. 20 in Baseball America's preseason poll, will begin play in the ACC in 2015.
The tournament also will be homecoming of sorts for West Virginia coach Randy Mazey, who played at Clemson from 1985-88. Mazey was the coach at Charleston Southern from 1994-96, leading the Bucs to the NCAA Tournament and Big South title in 1996.
Mazey is in his second season at West Virginia after serving seven years as an assistant at Texas Christian. The Mountaineers were 33-26 last season and finished third in the Big 12.
This week's ice storm has actually strengthened the field for the Homewood Suites Tournament, with Virginia Tech agreeing to play two games when Delaware's team was delayed in traveling to Charleston.
Virginia Tech is in its first season under new coach Patrick Mason; the Hokies and The Citadel both played in the NCAA Columbia Regional in 2010, with the teams splitting two games.
The Citadel plans to pitch junior left-hander James Reeves (3-1, 4.01 earned-run average in 2013) against Virginia Tech, with senior lefty Logan Cribb (4-3, 3.60) facing Louisville on Saturday and sophomore righty Austin Livingston (4-2, 5.09 ERA) taking on West Virginia on Sunday.
The revamped schedule at Riley Park is as follows:
. Friday: Louisville vs. West Virginia, noon; The Citadel vs. Virginia Tech, 40 minutes after first game.
. Saturday: Virginia Tech vs. Delaware, 11 a.m.; The Citadel vs. Louisville, 40 minutes after first game; West Virginia vs. Delaware, 40 minutes after Citadel-Louisville.
. Sunday: Delaware vs. Louisville, 10 a.m.; The Citadel vs. West Virginia, 40 minutes after first game.