FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (October 12, 2011) – Under the leadership of head coach Fred Hill, now entering his 29th year at the helm in Piscataway, the Rutgers University baseball program released its 2012 schedule Wednesday, highlighted by games against seven teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2011.
“Once again we have a very challenging schedule,” said Hill. “We have some very competitive nonconference games in addition to the always demanding BIG EAST schedule. The players and coaching staff are looking forward to getting out on the field this spring.”
The slate features 56 total games, including 36 on the road and 20 at home. There will be four BIG EAST away series and three conference home series. The top eight teams in the league will qualify for the BIG EAST Tournament set for May 23-27 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. – the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
RU is coming off of a 20-30 season, including 11-16 in the BIG EAST Conference. Top returning players for the Scarlet Knights include junior pitcher Tyler Gebler (Toms River, N.J.) (led the team in innings pitched (103.1) and earned run average (3.22)), senior infielder Russ Hopkins (Piscataway, N.J.) (team-leading 27 runs batted in) and junior infielder Steve Nyzistor (Toms River, N.J.) (.410 batting average, 1.013 OPS in 2010).
The 143rd season of Rutgers baseball will begin with a three-game series at Miami [Fla.] of the Atlantic Coast Conference from Feb. 17-19. It is the third-straight season the Scarlet Knights will take on the Hurricanes to start the season. UM earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2011 in the Gainesville [Fla.] Regional.
RU will play series at Old Dominion (Feb. 24-26) and at NCAA qualifier and Regional host Georgia Tech (March 2-4) before opening the home schedule at Bainton Field against local rival NJIT on March 7 at 3 p.m.
The Scarlet Knights will head back to Florida for spring break, going against Florida Atlantic for three games (March 9-11), Florida Gulf Coast for two games (March 13-14) and Stetson for three games (March 16-18). The Hatters played in the Columbia [S.C.] Regional of the NCAA Tournament a season ago.
There will be a home game on March 21 against Rider of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference prior to the opening conference series at defending BIG EAST Champion Seton Hall (March 23-25). The Pirates advanced on to the College Station [Texas] Regional.
After playing a midweek game at Wagner on March 28, the Scarlet Knights will travel to Washington, D.C. to play Georgetown (March 30-Apr. 1) in another BIG EAST road series.
Rutgers will take on the defending Ivy League Champions, Princeton, at Bainton Field on April 3. The Tigers participated in last season’s Austin [Texas] Regional. RU will stay in the Ivy League the next day (Apr. 4), traveling to Columbia.
The first home conference series will be against St. John’s (Apr. 5-7). The Red Storm earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, playing in the Charlottesville [Va.] Regional. The homestand will continue with a midweek game (Apr. 10) against Fordham before jumping back to BIG EAST play with West Virginia (Apr. 13-15).
A pair of nonconference tilts – at Monmouth (Apr. 17) and home versus Lafayette (Apr. 18) – will lead up to the series at Connecticut (Apr. 20-22), the defending BIG EAST Regular Season Champions. The Huskies advanced farther than any other BIG EAST team in the NCAA Tournament, competing in the Columbia [S.C.] Super Regional. UConn lost in two games to the eventual National Champions, South Carolina, but won the Clemson [S.C.] Regional as the No. 2 seed, upsetting the host Tigers the weekend before.
The Scarlet Knights will return home to face Delaware on Apr. 24 before closing out the month at Cincinnati (Apr. 27-29).
RU will play eight of 12 games at the friendly confines of Bainton Field in May, starting with nonconference games against Hofstra (May 1) and Iona (May 2). The Scarlet Knights will also welcome Pittsburgh that weekend in a unique series. Saturday, May 5 will be a scheduled doubleheader and Sunday, May 6 will be a single game to finish the weekend.
The final road BIG EAST series will be at Notre Dame May 11-13. RU defeated the Fighting Irish in a thrilling 14-inning game on Senior Day in 2011 to close out the home schedule. The last road game of the 2012 season will be at Delaware (May 16) to complete the home-and-home series.
Rutgers will close out the regular season at home against Villanova from May 17-19.
Following the BIG EAST Championship, the NCAA Regionals (June 1-4) and Super Regionals (June 8-11) are slated for campus sites. The 66th Annual Men’s College World Series will be held from June 15-26 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.