FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Contests against eight clubs that advanced to the 2011 NCAA Tournament and 30 home games featuring a clash with the University of Tennessee at FedExPark highlight Tiger baseball’s 57-game, 2012 slate, eighth-year head coach Daron Schoenrock announced Wednesday.
The Tiger’s potent 2012 schedule features 25 matchups against nine teams that clipped 30 wins a year ago and six tilts versus 40-win programs, Conference USA foes Rice and East Carolina. Memphis will play 18 games against 2012 NCAA Tournament qualifiers; eight of which will be played at home. The Tigers will play 29 games at FedExPark and one game, versus Ole Miss, at AutoZone Park on April 24.
“When you put a schedule together, you don’t have a grasp on what your team will be like that season, but this schedule is conducive to getting some young guys ready to play at home,” Schoenrock said. “We are going to have new players in the mix behind the plate, at second base and in center field, after those spots were left open following the draft. This schedule gives us a chance to get our feet wet and also break in some new conference weekend pitchers. Playing at home early will be very good for this team, but there are a number of challenges on the road that this relatively young team will face.”
For the third-straight season, Memphis opens the season at FedExPark. The Tigers open with a three-game set against SIU-Edwardsville, a midweek contest against Austin Peay and a three-game series against Kennesaw State.
Memphis’ first road trip takes the club to Ole Miss on Feb. 28 and Mississippi State on Feb. 29. After a three-game series at FedExPark against Bradley, March 2-4, the U of M travels to UL-Monroe for a two-game midweek series. Following the trip to UL-Monroe, Memphis faces a road non-league weekend series at Baylor, March 9-11. The Tigers other non-conference road series has the club travelling to Missouri for a three-game series May 11-13.
The Tigers return to FedExPark for a seven-game homestand from March 16-25. Siena will visit the Bluff City for a three-game series, including a doubleheader on March 17. The annual home-and-home matchup with Arkansas State pits the regional teams at FedExPark on March 20 and Memphis travels to ASU on April 10.
A home-and-home series with Tennessee showcases the Tigers and Volunteers on the diamond for the first time since the 1995 season. The Tigers begin a five-game road trip in Knoxville, Tenn., on April 4 against the Volunteers. Memphis will host Tennessee for the first time since 1993 when the two teams battle on May 9 at FedExPark.
Memphis opens conference play at home with a three-game series against Rice (March 23-25). The conference slate features home series against Tulane (March 30-April 1), East Carolina (April 13-15) and UAB (May 4-6) in addition to Rice. The U of M has four conference series on the road, beginning at Marshall on April 6. League road series also have the Tigers at Southern Miss (April 20-22), UCF (April 27-29) and Houston (May 17-19).
For the second-straight season, Trustmark Park in Jackson, Miss., will play host to the C-USA Baseball Championship. The tournament gets underway Wednesday, May 23 and concludes on Sunday, May 27.
The Tigers return 18 letterwinners from the 2011 squad that posted Memphis’ fourth 30-win season since 1995. Five position players who earned 40-plus starts return and two-thirds of the weekend starting rotation will take the mound in 2012. Eight bullpen arms are returning in 2012 and the Tigers roster features 14 newcomers.