FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State head coach Jake Boss has announced the 2011 Spartan baseball schedule. Highlights of the 55-game slate include 18 home games, 12 games against in-state rivals, including a three-game series with Michigan, a matchup against 2010 College World Series participant Clemson, and the fifth-annual Crosstown Showdown against the Lansing Lugnuts.
The Spartans will open the 2011 season by playing in the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge for the third consecutive year. MSU’s season opener is set Feb. 18 against Notre Dame at 4 p.m. at Dunedin Stadium in Dunedin, Fla., which is the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays. Michigan State topped Notre Dame, 4-2, in a fall scrimmage Sept. 18 at McLane Baseball Stadium.
On Saturday, Feb. 19, the Spartans will take on Seton Hall at 10 a.m. at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, while Sunday’s game (Feb. 20) will be at 1 p.m. against Cincinnati at Clearwater’s Jack Russell Memorial Stadium. Michigan State is 3-3 all-time in the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge, including a 2-1 record in 2010, with victories over Seton Hall and West Virginia.
MSU will once again play at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C., this season, this year taking on Charleston Southern (Feb. 25), Furman (Feb. 26) and Clemson (Feb. 27) in the First Pitch Invitational. Clemson went 45-25 last season and advanced to the College World Series.
For the annual spring trip to Florida, the Spartans will play eight games over a course of 10 days. On the first stop in Daytona Beach, MSU faces SIU Edwardsville twice (March 5 & 6), Bethune-Cookman (March 5) and Boston College (March 6) for the Bethune-Cookman Invitational. Later in the week, the Green and White head to Winter Haven for the RussMat Central Florida Invitational, which includes games against Miami-Ohio (March 9), Yale (March 11), Akron (March 12) and Pittsburgh (March 12). Following their spring break trip, the Spartans will take on Evansville on the road for a three-game series (March 18-20).
In the final non-conference series of the season, MSU battles archrival Michigan for a three-game set, with games in Ann Arbor March 25 and March 27 and in East Lansing March 26. These games will not count toward the Big Ten standings; the two teams were originally scheduled to not play each other due to the rotating Big Ten schedule. The Saturday, March 26 game against the Wolverines will also be the home opener for the Spartans.
Midweek games begin for MSU against Central Michigan on March 30. The Spartans will play midweek games against Western Michigan (April 19, May 10), Eastern Michigan (April 6, April 27), Oakland (doubleheader on April 12) and Notre Dame (May 17). MSU also faces the Chippewas in Midland on April 20 and in Mt. Pleasant May 11. The fifth-annual Crosstown Showdown against the Lansing Lugnuts is set for Tuesday, April 5 at 7:05 p.m. at Lansing’s Cooley Law School Stadium.
After the Crosstown Showdown, the Spartans will play six straight home games: Eastern Michigan (April 6), Minnesota (April 8-10) and Oakland in a doubleheader on April 12, which will be played at Cooley’s Law School Stadium.
The Spartans then hit the road for eight of their next nine games, including road Big Ten series at Ohio State (April 15-17) and Illinois (April 22-24).
MSU closes the Big Ten schedule with three of its final four series at home, with matchups against Penn State (April 30-May 1), Purdue (May 6-8) and Northwestern (May 19-21).
The Big Ten Tournament is set for May 25-28 and will be played at the regular-season champion’s home field.