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Lamar releases 2012 Schedule

BEAUMONT – Lamar University will play a 55-game baseball schedule next spring highlighted by visits to Vincent-Beck Stadium by Rice University, Gonzaga, Illinois and the PAC-12 member University of Washington.

The Cardinals will play perennially-tough Baylor twice in the Baylor Classic in Waco, and they will also tangle with national power LSU in Baton Rouge, La.

Coach Jim Gilligan’s Cardinals will open their slate against Portland on Feb. 17, on the first day of the annual Lamar Classic, which will also feature former Southland Conference and American South Conference rival Arkansas State. On the next weekend (Feb. 24-26), the Cardinals have Gonzaga and Illinois coming to town for the annual YMBL/Cardinal Classic.

While still on the tournament trail, the Cardinals, who are coming off a 29-27 season, will meet Cal-Irvine and Baylor twice each in the Baylor Classic during the weekend of March 2-4. They will then follow that event with a March 7 game at former conference rival Louisiana Tech.

“It’s a good schedule, especially early in the season,” said Jim Gilligan, who has accumulated 1,206 victories in his 35-season career as a college head coach (34 at Lamar). “We’re going to be playing some really good people at home and away.

“Baylor has a great tournament lined up with us and Cal-Irvine coming in to play the Bears, who are always competitive. I feel like we’re going to be a talented team this season, but we’re going to be inexperienced early.

“We’re going to have to do some growing up fast. The schedule is going to be a good test for us. It’s a little tougher than normal, but it’ll help us become a better team by the time conference play rolls around.”

The Cardinals, who went 15-18 in the Southland Conference last season, will open their 33-game league schedule with a three-game series at the University of Central Arkansas, beginning on March 9. The Cards’ first home league action will be in a three-game series against UT Arlington, beginning March 16.

Lamar’s annual home-and-home series with national power Rice has the Cardinals challenging the Owls in Houston’s Reckling Park on March 21 and the Owls paying a visit to Vincent-Beck Stadium on March 25.

The Cardinals will play at Houston’s Cougar Field on April 10, but the Cougars will not come to Beaumont this season, as has been the recent custom.

The Cardinals also have a non-conference home game against Washington on March 20. It will be the first meeting between the schools in baseball.

The Cardinals, who own a 5-1 series advantage over LSU, will meet the Tigers for the first time since 1995 in an April 18 game in Baton Rouge.

If the Cardinals can again finish in the top eight of the 12-team league, they will advance to San Marcos where Texas State will serve as host for the 2012 SLC Tournament on May 23-26. Last year’s Cardinals went 0-2 in the 2011 tournament, a year after sweeping their way to the tournament championship and an NCAA Regional berth in 2010.

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