FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
FARGO, N.D. – North Dakota State head baseball coach Tod Brown on Thursday announced the team’s 2012 schedule, which includes a fourth straight trip to Florida over spring break and a return to the Metrodome for six games.
North Dakota State opens Feb. 17-19 with a three-game series at Arizona before traveling to Northern Colorado and Southern Illinois Edwardsville for a pair of four-game sets.
“It will be a challenge to open against a Top 25 program like Arizona, but we have a good mix of teams that will help get us ready for league play, and that’s the number one goal in February and March,” Brown said.
NDSU plays in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational March 9-16 before going to the Metrodome to play Minnesota twice March 20-21 and North Dakota in a pair of doubleheaders April 1-2.
“We look forward to the Florida trip every year because we will play northern teams who face some of the same challenges as us, and it tests our depth with a lot of games in a short amount of time,” Brown said.
Summit League play is shortened from 28 to 24 games this year with the departure of Centenary College in Louisiana to Division III. The Bison filled their opening-weekend void with a four-game series April 6-8 at Nebraska Omaha, which is reclassifying from Division II and will be in The Summit League for the 2013 season.
North Dakota State will have three road and three home four-game series in league play. NDSU plays at Western Illinois, IPFW and Oral Roberts, and the Bison host South Dakota State (April 20-22), Southern Utah (May 4-6) and Oakland (May 11-13).
NDSU’s home openers are April 10-11 against Valley City State and Mayville State. Other non-conference games include a midweek game at South Dakota State and home games with Dakota Wesleyan, Minnesota and Minot State.
The top four teams from the regular-season will advance to the Summit League championship May 24-26 at Oral Roberts. The winner of the double-elimination tournament will earn the league’s automatic berth in the 64-team NCAA tournament.
North Dakota State returns seven of its nine regular starters from last year’s 22-32 team that placed third in The Summit League with a 15-12 record.