FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
CHARLESTON, Ill. – Seventeen home dates in the month of April and five weekend series at Coaches Stadium highlight Eastern Illinois baseball’s 2009 schedule, announced by head coach Jim Schmitz.
Six- and nine-game homestands comprise a good deal of the April slate, and 17 of EIU’s total 22 games that month are to be played at Coaches Stadium. Eastern opens its home schedule Wednesday, March 25 vs. Illinois State.
The Panthers host Tennessee Tech, Murray State, Jacksonville State, SIU Edwardsville and Eastern Kentucky for weekend series. The EIU-JSU three-game set April 18-19 could have a major impact on the Ohio Valley Conference race. The Gamecocks won the 2008 regular-season title, but the Panthers captured the OVC Tournament championship and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Eastern is also slated to play weekend series at Morehead State, UT Martin, Southeast Missouri and Austin Peay. The consecutive trips to SEMO and APSU in early May should provide a late-season challenge.
Eastern opens the season at Southeastern Louisiana for the second year in a row, taking on the Lions in Hammond the weekend of Feb. 20-22. Another match-up with Missouri at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in Metro St. Louis (O’Fallon, Mo.) is also on the schedule this spring.
The non-conference portion of the schedule also features a return to Evansville’s early-season tournament. The Panthers also participated in the Dunn Hospitality Diamond Classic in southwest Indiana in 2006 and 2007. Saint Louis and Butler round out the four-team field this year.
The Panthers once again travel to Florida for their spring break trip (March 13-22), where they’ll take on South Florida, Bethune-Cookman and Oklahoma at USF’s tournament as well as Indiana and Bradley at neutral site in Winter Haven. Eastern heads north for an OVC-opening series at Morehead State before returning to Charleston.
The schedule actually features nine neutral-site contests. The Panthers travel to Louisville, Ky. the weekend of March 7-8 and square off against UW-Milwaukee twice at Patterson Stadium before playing the Louisville Cardinals Sunday afternoon.
Eastern is slated to host Illinois State, Chicago State, Illinois College, Indiana State, Blackburn College, Saint Louis, Bradley and Southern Illinois for midweek home games.
For the ninth consecutive season, the OVC Tournament will be held at Brooks Stadium in Paducah, Ky. The six-team event opens Wednesday, May 20. The Panthers won four games in four days vs. four different teams in Paducah to win the 2008 tourney title.