2022 The Citadel vs Creighton

BIG EAST Games Of The Week: UConn's Date With Old Rival

BIG EAST Games Of The Week: UConn's Date With Old Rival

UConn matches up with an old BIG EAST opponent and Butler has a four-game series with Eastern Illinois.

Mar 29, 2022 by Briar Napier
BIG EAST Games Of The Week: UConn's Date With Old Rival

The clock is ticking.

Days remain until the BIG EAST baseball season kicks into high gear next month. But first, there’s some non-conference scores to settle.

For several teams this week across the league, dates on the schedule they may have looked at in preseason as easy victories have quickly turned into potential trap games. For one team in particular, however, there’s a golden chance to keep a streak of dominance going against a former longtime BIG EAST rival.

Here are the league’s storylines headed into the final full week of non-conference showdowns, all which can be watched on FloBaseball.

NOTE: All first pitch times are in Eastern Time and are subject to change. All statistics and records are accurate as of Monday evening.

Boston College Vs. UConn

Tuesday, March 29 at 2 p.m. 

The defending BIG EAST champions have shown no signs of slowing down early on in the season, cruising to a 17-5 overall record thus far and keeping hold of the No. 25 slot in the D1Baseball.com Top 25 weekly poll that it first entered last week. But before the meat of conference play—and a league title defense—begins next month, the Huskies will play host to an old BIG EAST foe in a one-off game. UConn has won the last five matchups over Boston College dating back to 2015, with last season’s meeting (a 12-0 Huskies rout) being especially dominant. 

Right-hander Cole Chudoba (1-0, 2.13 ERA) is expected to get his second start of the year on the bump for the Huskies, as the grad transfer from Division II Assumption College has adjusted well to the jump in competition with 14 strikeouts in 12⅓ innings pitched thus far in 2022. The two programs do hold a notable common opponent in Louisville, which UConn beat handily, 9-2 back on Feb. 20. The Eagles, meanwhile, were swept in a three-game ACC series by the Cardinals just this past weekend by a combined 31-8. Considering the Huskies have some pop to their bats, having already tallied 30 home runs and 154 runs on the year, it could be a long night ahead for Boston College’s pitching staff.

Eastern Illinois Vs. Butler

Friday, April 1 at 4 p.m.; Saturday, April 3 at noon and 3 p.m. 

Butler is showing signs of improvement from a 14-23 season a year ago, already hitting the 10-win barrier and striking gold in graduate infielder and High Point transfer Travis Holt, who currently leads the BIG EAST with 13 stolen bases and is far and away the Bulldogs’ best hitter with a current .358 average. However, Butler’s tests keep coming ahead of league play as surprise upstarts Eastern Illinois look to be major players on the mid-major scene this season. 

The Panthers, who were picked to finish seventh of nine teams this preseason by the Ohio Valley Conference’s coaches, are currently 16-4 with a win over nearby neighbors and Big Ten school Illinois in Champaign. Much of the rest of EIU’s remaining non-conference schedule doesn’t scream “elite,” but some of its numbers do. Junior utility Ryan Ignoffo has been destroying rotations by batting .438 with an .809 slugging percentage and 30 RBI so far this season, while senior left-hander Trevor Nicholson holds an impressive 1.19 ERA and 52 strikeouts over just 30⅓ innings. 

Butler is liable to see both at some point during the series in Indianapolis this weekend, but if the Holt does what he does and parts of the rotation get going—such as the struggling Cory Bosecker (6.43 ERA in six starts) and Jon Vore (6.14 ERA in seven appearances—the Bulldogs could take advantage and nab a game or two (or more) against the Panthers.

The Citadel Vs. Creighton

Friday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 3 at 1 p.m. 

The Bluejays are flying—no pun intended. A disastrous 1-5 start has shifted into 10 wins in 12 for veteran coach Ed Servais’ squad, and that type of momentum building is big for a Creighton team that’s trying to reclaim the BIG EAST championship that it lost to UConn a year ago. There’s plenty worse opponents to take on in the final non-conference tuneup before opening BIG EAST play than The Citadel, too. 

After a dreadful 12-39 campaign in 2021, the Citadel Bulldogs are already up to 16-7 this time around, winning a series over a BIG EAST team already, in Villanova while, and also beating baseball blue-blood and in-state rival South Carolina in a March 22 meeting. Not bad for the school picked to finish last in the Southern Conference. The Citadel has a gnarly set of starting pitchers, with right-handed grad student Devin Beckley (3-1, 2.30 ERA) thus far earning the title of the ace of the bunch. But sophomore Bluejay Alan Roden—the BIG EAST’s Preseason Player of the Year—is the type of talent that can easily be flat-out matchup-proof (.364 average this season) on a given night. Right-handed junior hurler (and Preseason Pitcher of the Year) Dylan Tebrake has got the arm to compete with the best of them (3-1, 2.87 ERA), too. Expect a testy, tightly-contested trio of games this weekend in Omaha.