FROM CBD NEWS SOURCES
DeLand, Fla. – Stetson Head Baseball Coach Pete Dunn unveiled the 2012 schedule for his defending Atlantic Sun Conference regular season champion Hatters on Wednesday. The 56-game slate features 16 contests against fellow 2010 NCAA Tournament teams, 34 home games at Melching Field, the first matchup with five-time national champion Miami since 2007 (150th overall vs. the Hurricanes) and the return of the A-Sun Championships to Melching Field.
Stetson, coming off an outstanding 43-20 (23-7 A-Sun) campaign, and defending NCAA regional champion Florida State have expanded their annual series from two to four games. The Hatters and Seminoles will play a two-game set in Tallahassee in mid-March with FSU returning the favor at Melching Field May 8-9.
After a seven-game homestand against George Washington and Central Michigan to start the season, the Hatters visit Volusia County rival Bethune-Cookman to finish off February before opening March with the annual Bright House Invitational at Melching Field. This year’s visiting field includes Georgia State, Penn and Southern Illinois.
Stetson makes the first of its two trips to Miami on March 7 to battle NCAA regional qualifier FIU before a seven-game homestand against Harvard and Rutgers. The Hatters play their next nine contests on the road with two at FSU, three each at Belmont and Mercer to open A-Sun action and a mid-week game at USF before returning home for its first home conference series against Jacksonville and a mid-week return visit from USF.
Coach Dunn’s squad next visits Kennesaw State for three conference games and makes a March 18 stop at Alex Rodriguez Park in Coral Gables against the Miami Hurricanes, facing Miami for the 150th time in series history and the first time since 2007. Upon their return, next up for the Hatters are three games at home against A-Sun rival Lipscomb and Bethune-Cookman’s only trip across the county to Melching Field in 2012.
After a three-game weekend conference series at UNF concludes April, Stetson will take on a strong May slate that starts with a six-game homestand. Longtime rival UCF (one game), A-Sun foe USC Upstate (three games) and Florida State (two games) are on tap to begin the month with three games at ETSU and one at UCF to follow. The regular season wraps up May 17-19 with the final A-Sun series at home against FGCU.
After two seasons at Lipscomb, the A-Sun tournament returns to DeLand for the 13th time since 1989 and to Melching Field for the ninth time since 2002. The Hatters will be going for their second straight NCAA regionals appearance and their 17th overall at the Division I level.
Stetson returns nearly its entire pitching staff from the 2010 squad that led the A-Sun with a 3.95 ERA (including A-Sun Pitcher of the Year Kurt Schluter) as well as six of nine regular starting position players.