FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
NORMAL, Ill.-The defending Missouri Valley Conference Champion Illinois State baseball team’s 2011 schedule is highlighted by matchups against seven teams that won 30 or more games last season, two that qualified for the NCAA Division I Tournament and one that finished the season nationally-ranked. The schedule, which was released Tuesday, also features the annual Horenberger-Bass Classic, which pits the Redbirds against the 2010 NCAA Division III National Champion Illinois Wesleyan Titans.
“Our goal is to build on the momentum of last year’s success,” said Illinois State head baseball coach Mark Kingston. “As a result, we have scheduled more home games than usual. Our new stadium is a great place to watch a game, and we envision the community and student support getting stronger each year. Another highlight will be our two-game set at the University of Miami. This level of competition will give us great insight into our strengths and weaknesses as we prepare for the strong Missouri Valley Conference.”
Illinois State will start its 55-game regular season with 15-consecutive road contests, including four games in Nashville, Tenn., at Belmont (Feb. 18-20), and three in Clarksville, Tenn., with one against Austin Peay and two versus Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the 2010 Horizon League Tournament champions (Feb. 4-6). The Redbirds’ spring break trip begins with three games at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational in Winter Haven, Fla. (March 4-6). ISU will then play two against the 2010 Coral Gables NCAA Regional champion Miami Hurricanes who finished the season ranked 10th nationally with a 43-20 overall record (March 8-9), followed by three more games in Winter Haven (March 11-13).
The Redbirds open up the 2011 home season, which consists of 26 games at Duffy Bass Filed, March 16 against SIU Edwardsville, followed by three at home versus Austin Peay (March 18-20). Illinois State then heads back on the road for midweek action at Purdue (March 22), before returning home for three against Oakland (March 25-27). The Redbirds then have another midweek game against a Big Ten opponent, this time in Champaign, Ill., versus Illinois (March 29).
ISU begins April with a four-game series against Chicago State (April 1-3) and a midweek game at Northern Illinois (April 5). Then the Redbirds start the quest to defend their Valley title, as ISU plays three at home against Creighton (April 8-10), followed by a midweek game against Northern Illinois (April 12), and three more MVC road games at Bradley (April 15-17). After playing their I-74 rivals from the west, the Redbirds take on their easterly I-74 foes by hosting Illinois (April 19), before heading back on the road to face Valley regular season co-champion Wichita State for a three-game series (April 22-24).
Illinois State returns to Duffy Bass Field for seven straight, including mid-week action against Division III cross-town rival Illinois Wesleyan (April 26), a three-game MVC set versus Indiana State (April 29-May 1), and another Valley series against Missouri State (May 6-8). The Redbirds will play their final five road games, traveling to Eastern Illinois for a midweek matchup (May 11), followed by three Valley games against Southern Illinois (May 13-15), and a game versus Western Illinois (May 17).
The Redbirds close the regular season with a three-game MVC series at home against Evansville (May 20-22). The State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament is scheduled for May 25-28 at the brand new TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., the home of the NCAA Division I College World Series.