FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
HARRISONBURG, Va., Oct. 27, 2011 – James Madison baseball head coach Spanky McFarland on Thursday announced the 2012 schedule that his team will face while attempting to defend its 2011 championship in the Colonial Athletic Association.
“We start out really tough,” said McFarland of the schedule for his 15th season with the Diamond Dukes. “The first tournament we’re in is one of the best tournaments in the country with Coastal [Carolina], Virginia and Boston College. That will be a great test early. After that, the schedule is a little easier with more home games so we can work on things from the first weekend to get ready for conference. I think it’s a little tougher schedule than last year, which it should be since we have a lot of guys back. Hopefully, if we can take care of some business, our RPI will reflect that and put us in a good position for the rest of the season.”
The 53-game schedule features 29 total home games, including 13 scheduled under the lights, as well as one of the most competitive early-season tournaments in the country at Coastal Carolina. It also includes six contests against Atlantic Coast Conference teams, highlighted by home games with both Virginia (March 6) and Virginia Tech (March 27). Those highlights are in addition to last week’s announcement that Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park will serve as host of the 2012 and 2013 CAA Championships.
Both season tickets for the 2012 campaign and all-session passes for the 2012 CAA Championship are already on sale at JMUSports.com.
JMU will open its season Feb. 17-19 at the Caravelle Resort Tournament hosted by Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C. The Dukes open at the host Chanticleers, an NCAA participant from a year ago, at 4 p.m. on Feb. 17. They face Boston College at 11 a.m. Saturday and close with a noon game against Virginia on Sunday at BB&T Field, Minor League home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
After that tournament, the Dukes head to Veterans Memorial Park for 11 consecutive games, including a four-game set with Bucknell (Feb. 24-26), a three-game series against Lafayette (March 2-4) and the March 6 home date with Virginia, which advanced to the semifinals in last year’s College World Series.
The Dukes then embark upon the 30-game CAA conference slate, beginning with a road series March 9-11 at UNCW at the same site where JMU captured the CAA championship in May. Madison actually faces each of the other CAA tournament participants from last year in road series, including Georgia State (March 23-25) and Old Dominion (April 13-15). The other road series are Hofstra (April 20-22) and Towson (May 17-19) in the season’s final weekend. Home series include William and Mary (March 16-18), Delaware (March 30-April 1), Northeastern (April 6-8), George Mason (April 27-29) and VCU (May 11-13).
Midweek games feature familiar foes for the Diamond Dukes with home-and-away matchups against Big South opponents Radford (3/20 home & 5/8 away) and VMI (4/18 home & 4/25 away). JMU has three games against Liberty (2/29 home & 3/14 plus 4/10 away), single home games with Longwood (2/22), Mount St. Mary’s (3/7) and Virginia Tech (3/27) and a road-only matchup with Maryland (4/17).
The 29 home games and 13 at night are comparable to last year’s slate, which featured 30 at home and 14 at night. JMU went 21-8 last year at Veterans Memorial Park and stands at 36-11 (.766) in two seasons since the facility opened. The last time the Dukes hosted Virginia, the program established an attendance record of 1,815 against the top-ranked Cavaliers in the first home night game in JMU history. The 2012 meeting on March 6 will be at 4 p.m. The March 27 game at 6:30 p.m. will mark the first visit by Virginia Tech to the new facility.
The CAA Championship will take place in Harrisonburg May 23-26. The tournament is returning to a six-team format for the first time since 2009 and will be held outside of the state of North Carolina for the first time since 1994. JMU has not hosted postseason baseball since 1984. The Dukes have captured two of the last four league titles (2008, 2011) and have both the best overall (.595, 201-137) and league (.634, 104-60) winning percentages over the last six years.
JMU returns 18 of 27 players from its 2011 championship squad, including the majority of its pitching staff. The Dukes went 42-19 overall to record the most games played and third-most wins in program history. JMU went 21-9 to finish first in the CAA and went 3-0 in the tournament to capture the league title. The Dukes then advanced to their first NCAA regional final since 1983 with wins over FIU and Maine in the Chapel Hill Regional.
This press release is courtesy of the James Madison Athletic Department.