FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
STARKVILLE, Miss. – A school-record 37 home games including non-conference matchups with Connecticut, Kansas, and first-time opponents Penn State and Washington State highlight the 56-game 2012 Mississippi State University baseball schedule announced this week by head baseball coach John Cohen.
The schedule includes 30 contests against Southeastern Conference foes and games against nine teams that advanced to the 64-team field of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
“This is an attractive schedule,” said head coach John Cohen. “In addition to 15 home games against teams from the nation’s toughest league — the Southeastern Conference, we also play a very challenging pre-conference schedule that includes a variety of teams from some great baseball conferences.”
The Bulldogs open their 122nd season of baseball with 18 consecutive games at Dudy Noble Field, beginning with a three-game weekend series Feb. 17-19 against first-time opponent Washington State of the Pac-Ten Conference. Other newcomers to the MSU schedule faced during the home stand include Kansas Big 12 Conference foe Kansas, 2011 NCAA Super Regional team Connecticut from the Big East Conference, first-time foe Penn State of the Big 10 Conference and Atlantic Sun Conference member Mercer, making its first baseball appearance in Starkville since 1914.
The home conference lineup includes three-game weekend series against Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. The Tennessee series Apr. 20-22 is a key component of 2012 Super Bulldog Weekend festivities on the MSU campus.
MSU welcomes Kansas and Mississippi Valley State to campus Feb. 24-26 for the first of two six-game tournaments at Dudy Noble Field in the opening weeks of the season. The Bulldogs later join Lipscomb and Connecticut in a similar tourney-style format Mar. 2-4.
The Diamond Dogs make two appearances at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss., as the designated home team in Tuesday night matchups against Ole Miss (Apr. 17) and Southern Miss (Apr. 24).
The 2012 schedule includes 22 games against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2011 — Alabama, Alcorn State, Arkansas, Auburn, Connecticut, Florida, South Carolina, Southern Miss and Vanderbilt. UConn, like Mississippi State, advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals while Florida, Vanderbilt, and 2011 national champion South Carolina played in the NCAA College World Series.
The Bulldogs, who posted a 38-25 record and came with three innings of a berth in the 2011 CWS, begin fall baseball practice Sept. 23 at Dudy Noble Field.