FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – Eastern Michigan University Head Baseball Coach Jay Alexander has announced his team’s schedule for the 2011 season which will feature three national qualifiers including one finalist from 2010. The challenging schedule will begin with a three-game series against 2010 College World Series participant, Clemson, Feb. 18-20, in Clemson, S.C.
Clemson, which finished 45-24 last season and was eliminated by eventual national champion South Carolina in the national semifinals, starts a 14-game road stretch to open the season for the Eagles. In addition to facing the Tigers, EMU will also take on Kentucky, Tennessee Tech, Presbyterian College, Austin Peay, Alabama A&M and Kansas, which the Eagles split a season-opening series with a year ago.
“Once again I put together a challenging schedule so that we can be ready for Mid-American Conference play,” Alexander said. “It also gives our players a realistic perspective on how all teams prepare and play, which in turn should help us for our grueling MAC season. I am a believer that if you want to be the best, you should play the best!”
The Eagles’ anticipated home opener comes two weeks sooner than last season’s scheduled opener as they are scheduled to host Oakland in a three-game series March 18-20, at Oestrike Stadium. From there, the team heads to Morgantown, W.V. for a two-game set against the Mountaineers. Last year, the Eagles won game two in the three-game series, 23-0, over West Virginia.
“I like our chances in the MAC,” Alexander said. “Our kids have been working hard and they are focused on accomplishing our ‘TEAM GOALS.’ It will be tough, but I am hoping to finish in the top half of conference.”
The Green and White begin MAC play at home when Buffalo comes to Ypsilanti, March 25-27. The Eagles took two out of three on the road against the Bulls last season. Before traveling to Bowling Green (April 1-3) for their first MAC road series, the Eagles will take on Cleveland State and cross-county rival Michigan in a pair of non-conference home dates March 29-30.
EMU will travel to Michigan State for a day game April 6, before heading to two-time defending MAC Champions Kent State for a key three-game series on the road, April 8-10. EMU dropped four-of-six to the Golden Flashes a season ago, but came within one win of getting to the 2010 MAC Tournament championship game before KSU survived a 9-8 extra innings thriller to end the seventh-seeded Eagles’ dream run.
EMU will conclude its non-conference slate with four road trips, to Cleveland State (April 12), Michigan (April 20), Michigan State (April 27) and a two-game set on the road against Louisville, May 3-5. The Eagles will wrap up the conference portion of its schedule with critical road series at Western Michigan (April 22-24) and Toledo (May 13-15) while hosting Ball State (April 29-May 1), Northern Illinois (May 6-8) and finally, MAC West-rival Central Michigan (May 19-21) to conclude the regular season.
The Mid-American Conference Tournament will once again be held at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio, May 25-28. The top eight seeds will compete for an automatic bid into the NCAA Regional Tournament which will begin the first week of June.