FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
CARBONDALE, Ill. – The Southern Illinois baseball team has released its 2012 schedule, which is highlighted with a 14-game home stand and series against three opponents who earned bids to the NCAA Tournament.
With a variety of non-conference and conference opponents first year head coach Ken Henderson is excited about the scheduled for the 2012 season.
“The non-conference portion of this year’s schedule will present some great challenges for us, but should prepare us for the always tough Missouri Valley Conference,” Henderson said. “We have a better mix of home and away games than last year, which will give our students and fans a greater opportunity to support our student-athletes.”
The season begins with 11 straight games on the road starting on Feb. 17-19 with a three game series at North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. followed by a single game at UT-Martin (Feb. 21).
The Salukis will play in their lone tournament of the season when they travel to DeLand, Fla. for the Bright House Invitational hosted by Stetson University Mar. 2-4. They will face Georgia State, Penn, and host Stetson – who earned a post-season tournament bid in 2011 as they won the Atlantic Sun Conference.
“With two trips to the state of Florida and the trip to Dallas we will get an opportunity to play in some different areas against outstanding competition,” Henderson said.
SIU will then return home to begin a 14-game home stand at Abe Martin Field beginning with a two game series against Middle Tennessee State (Mar. 6-7) and a weekend series with Jacksonville State (Mar. 9-11).
Northern Illinois and Illinois come to town Mar. 16-18 in a round robin as the Salukis face the Huskies and Fighting Illini twice in during the weekend.
The Salukis then face Eastern Illinois in a mid-week matchup (Mar. 20) while Missouri Valley Conference play opens up with Bradley in a weekend series (Mar. 23-25). Murray State caps off the home stand (Mar. 28) in the first game of the series with the Racers.
They then hit the road to face Wichita State in Wichita, Kan. (Mar. 30-Apr. 1) and then swing by Murray, Ky. to wrap up the series with the Racers. Returning home, SIU hosts Evansville in a three game series (Apr. 6-8) then travels to SEMO (Apr. 10).
The Dawgs then head to Dallas, Texas Apr. 13-15 for a return match up with Dallas Baptist, who visited Carbondale last season. The Patriots received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament last season where they advanced to the Super Regional.
UT-Martin comes to Carbondale on Apr. 18 as the Salukis also entertain the MVC regular season and tournament champion Creighton (Apr. 20-22) and host SEMO (Apr. 24). Jumping back into conference action, the Salukis face Missouri State in Springfield, Mo. (Apr. 27-29) while traveling to non-conference Illinois (May 1).
The Salukis wrap up conference action with a series at Illinois State (May 4-6) and host Indiana State (May 11-13). They wrap up the regular season schedule with a single game at Saint Louis (May 15) and a series against Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (May 19-21) both at Abe Martin Field.
The Salukis then travel to the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference tournament will be held in Springfield, Mo. May 22-26 at Hammons Field.
The 2012 season marks the 66th year of baseball at SIU. The team finished 23-34 overall and 11-10 in MVC play in 2011. The Salukis return seven starters from a season ago and adds 10 newcomers to its roster.