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Western Illinois releases 2012 Schedule

MACOMB, Ill. – An appearance last season in the Summit League Tournament and a 20-win season has the Fighting Leathernecks looking forward to a competitive and exciting schedule in 2012.

Head coach Mike Villano announced the 2012 schedule, which includes 20 games at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium. Those include non-conference home series with Xavier and Bradley, along with single games with Iowa and Eastern Illinois.

“We are extremely excited to keep building this program to where we want it to be,” said Villano. “Hopefully, a tough non-conference schedule will prepare us for Summit League play.”

“We are looking to build a purple-first, never quit attitude,” finished Villano.

The first of two trips to the Peach State will be a four-game series with Georgia State in Atlanta on Feb. 17-20. The Leathernecks won the final game of the 2011 series. The Panthers were 37-21 overall and finished with a 17-13 mark in the Colonial Athletic Conference.

Next for the Purple & Gold is a three game series with Alabama A&M in Huntsville on Feb. 24-26. The Bulldogs were 10-38 last season, 8-18 in the SWAC.

A marquee four-game series with former national champion Georgia Bulldogs on March 2-4 highlights the non-conference schedule. Georgia was 33-32 in 2011 including a 16-14 record in the SEC. The Bulldogs are coming off a season where it won two games at the NCAA Regional before losing to Oregon State.

On March 9-11, the Leathernecks visit Bowling Green, Kentucky, to battle the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky. Western Kentucky was 33-22 in 2011 and 17-13 within the Sun Belt.

Coach Villano and crew will visit St. Louis on March 16-19. The action will begin with a game with Saint Louis and two more versus Air Force and Tennessee-Martin.

The Billikens will visit Macomb for a single game with the Leathernecks on March 20 to open the home season and will begin a 16-game home stand.

Xavier will come to town for three games on March 23-25. In 2011, the Musketeers were 30-27 overall and a 14-10 mark in the Atlantic 10.

The Bradley Braves and Western will meet March 30-April 1 for a three-game set. In 2011, the two programs split the season series 2-2.

Summit League play begins on April 6 with Southern Utah. The Leathernecks took three of four from the Thunderbirds in 2011. Iowa and Western will meet on April 10.

The schedule will return league play with a four-game set against North Dakota State. The Bison eventually ended the Purple & Gold’s conference tournament run with a 5-3 victory.

The Leathernecks will travel to Tulsa, Okla. for four games with defending champion Oral Roberts on April 20-22. In 2011, the two programs split the season series. The Golden Eagles lost to Dallas Baptist after winning three games at the NCAA Regional.

One of the final non-conference tilts will be an in-state match up with Eastern Illinois on April 24.

On April 27-29, Western will visit Rochester, Mich. for a series with Oakland. The Golden Grizzlies took three of four from Western in 2011.

The final home stand will be on May 4-6 against IPFW. The Leathernecks took three of four from the Mastodons in 2011.

On May 11-13, the Leathernecks will play at Illinois State. The Redbird program was 36-18 last season including a 13-8 record in the MVC. The final regular season series will feature South Dakota State on May 18-20.

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