FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
FAYETTEVILLE – A school record 36 regular season home games, including 20 of the first 23 games at home, and a trip to Houston to participate in the prestigious Houston College Classic highlight the 2012 Arkansas baseball schedule, released on Tuesday.
“I think it’s a great schedule for our fans,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “There are a lot of home games. We play some outstanding non-conference opponents. I think it’s a great schedule and will be very challenging for our team.”
Arkansas will spend plenty of time in the friendly confines of Baum Stadium during the season as the team will play 36 regular season games at home. The 36 regular season home games are the most in school history, breaking the previous record of 34 home games set in 1997, 2000 and 2010. Much of Arkansas’ early season schedule will take place in Fayetteville as 20 of the team’s first 23 games will be at Baum Stadium.
“The bulk of the games early are at home,” Coach Van Horn said. “It gives us an opportunity to hopefully get off to a good start and have some young players get some experience. We have some good young pitchers that we’re going to try to get out on the mound before we head to the tournament in Houston.”
In addition to the 36 games in Fayetteville, Arkansas will also play a game in Central Arkansas for the third-consecutive year, playing Louisiana Tech in North Little Rock’s Dickey-Stephens Park on May 15.
The Razorbacks open the season with 10 straight games at home, starting on Friday, Feb. 17, when Arkansas hosts Villanova in a three-game series to begin the season. Following the weekend series against Villanova, Arkansas hosts Northwestern State (Feb. 21-22), Valparaiso (Feb. 24-26) and BYU (Feb. 28-29) in the season-opening homestand.
The Razorbacks will participate in the prestigious Houston College Classic March 2-4 at Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros. Along with Arkansas, other teams participating include Rice, Houston, Tennessee, Texas and Texas Tech. The Razorbacks’ opponents as well as game times for the event will be announced at a later date.
“I try to have us play on the road or play in a tournament with quality competition the weekend before or two weekends before we open SEC play,” Coach Van Horn said. “Hopefully the competition we play in the Houston College Classic will help prepare us for our SEC opening series.”
Following the Houston College Classic, Arkansas returns home for its second 10-game homestand of the season, which includes the SEC opener against Alabama. This homestand will bring Binghamton (March 9-11), Gonzaga (March 13-14), Alabama (March 16-18) and Nevada (March 20-21) to Baum Stadium.
UA plays its first true road game of the season on March 23, when it opens a three-game series against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss. The next weekend Arkansas travels to Baton Rouge, La., for a three-game series against LSU.
After the series at LSU, Arkansas will play seven of its next eight games at home. The Razorbacks host Georgia April 6-8 and Kentucky April 13-15. A game at Oklahoma on April 10 is between the two conference series at home. Arkansas hosts Stephen F. Austin in a midweek game on April 17.
Arkansas closes the month of April by playing six of seven games on the road. The Razorbacks end the month by playing at Ole Miss (April 20-22), hosting Oral Roberts (April 24) and traveling to Florida (April 27-29).
The Razorbacks start the month of May with their final homestand of the season, an eight-game stretch that begins with a midweek series against Missouri May 1-2. Following the Missouri series, Arkansas hosts South Carolina and Auburn on consecutive weekends. The two-time defending national champion Gamecocks come to town May 4-6, while the Tigers pay a visit to Baum Stadium May 11-13.
The Razorback baseball team will play a game in Central Arkansas for the third straight season as Arkansas will play Louisiana Tech on May 15 at North Little Rock’s Dickey-Stephens Park.
Arkansas closes the regular season with a three-game series at Tennessee. The series will mark the first regular season meeting between the Razorbacks and Volunteers since the 2009 season.
The 2012 SEC Baseball Tournament will take place May 23-27 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. NCAA Tournament play begins the first weekend of June, leading up to the College World Series June 15-25 at T.D. Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.