NEW YORK - Head baseball coach Brett Boretti has announced the 2014 schedule, featuring early season trips to Florida, Georgia and Texas to prepare the Lions for their Ivy League title defense.

“We feel we have once again put together a very challenging schedule that will test us throughout the season,” commented Boretti. “The early trips should give us a chance to learn a lot about our team.”

Columbia will open the season with a four-game set in Tampa, Fla. against South Florida. The season opener for the Lions will begin at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28, with a doubleheader to follow on Saturday, March 1 and the series finale commencing Sunday, March 2 at 1 p.m.

The following weekend the Lions head back to the south to take on Kennesaw State at Stillwell Baseball Stadium. The series begins Friday, March 7 at 4 p.m. and continues with a doubleheader Saturday, March 8 and a singe game Sunday, March 9 with first pitch both days set for 1 p.m.

Next up for Columbia is a nine-day trip through the Lone Star State for its annual spring break trip. The Lions open the trip with four games at the University of Texas at San Antonio from March 14-16. After an off day, Columbia will visit College Station, Texas for one game against Texas A&M on March 18 and then visit the University of Texas at Arlington the next day. The trip culminates with three games at the University of Texas March 21-23 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

“The trip to Texas for spring break is very exciting for the team,” said Boretti. “It's a great opportunity to compete against some of the best programs in the country and experience some great college baseball environments.”

The Lions travel to Army for a single game on March 26 before hosting their first games at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium with back-to-back Ivy League doubleheaders March 29 and 30. Rolfe Division foes Brown and Yale journey to New York City for doubleheaders that begin at noon each day.  

The first day of April sees Rutgers make the trip to Manhattan for a 3:30 p.m. contest. Columbia then hits the road for its first Ancient Eight away games at Dartmouth and Harvard on April 5-6, respectively. A trip out to Queens to take on St. John’s on April 8 precedes the start of Gehrig Division action on April 12-13 against Princeton at Satow Stadium.

Columbia continues divisional competition in Ithaca, N.Y. on April 19-20 versus Cornell at David F. Hoy Field. A doubleheader against Fordham represents the final out-of-conference games on Wednesday, April 23 for the Lions.

The regular season wraps up with a home-and-home series with Penn that begin in Philadelphia on Friday, April 25 and concludes in Manhattan on April 26.

The Ivy League Championship that will feature the Gehrig and Rofle Divisional winners will be held at the top seeds’ home venue May 3-4.