ORONO, Maine– The University of Maine baseball team, the defending 2011 America East Champions, released its 2012 schedule on Thursday, Oct. 27. Trips to Clemson and Florida State highlight the non-conference slate. The Black Bears will also have the traditionally challenging America East schedule.
“We feel we need to challenge our team as much as possible, and give our team every possible experience to help us build off last year’s success,” said Maine head coach Steve Trimper. “We know we have a talented group, but we now need to do even more preparation in the preseason and non-conference schedule to have another NCAA tournament run in June. Our 2012 schedule is one of the most competitive and challenging we have had in some time. Opening up with ACC perennial powers Clemson and Florida State will be a great experience and undoubtably help us prepare for a run at another NCAA Regional appearance.”
Maine opens the 2012 season on Friday, Feb. 24 when it travels to Clemson for a three-game series with the Tigers. Clemson is coached by former Maine two-sport standout and Hall of Famer Jack Leggett. The Black Bears then head to Florida A & M for a pair of games. Maine then travels to Florida State for three games.
“Our spring break trip is designed a bit different this year,” said Trimper. “In the past, Maine teams played as many game as they could in a short period, which sometimes did not put us in the best position to win. We will be able to compete with good opponents on weekends, along with establishing some playing time for our younger players this season.”
The Black Bears will play in the Winter Haven Baseball Tournament March 7-11 in Winter Haven, Fla. Maine then plays in the Seton Hall Strike Out Cancer Tournament March 16-18 in South Orange, N.J. Seton Hall, Fordham and N.J.I.T. are also in the field.
“We feel it is important to stay ready for conference play through more mid week games this season,” said Trimper. “We will play Brown, UMass, Northeastern and Boston College this season in mid week games.”
The Black Bears face Brown before traveling to Bryant for a weekend series March 23 through 25. Maine travels to Norfolk, Va. for a four-game series with Norfolk State late in March.
The Black Bears host Husson in the Mahaney Diamond opener on Tuesday, April 3. Maine opens America East play that weekend when it travels to UMCB for a four-game series with the Retrievers.
“Once again, America East will have a balance of great teams,” said Trimper. “Stony Brook is returning a tremendous core of players from last year’s record-setting year, and Albany gets back a talented group from injuries. Binghamton is always tough. Hartford and UMBC went through coaching changes, so I look for them to improve. It should be an exciting America East schedule, and a quality America East Tournament in May.”
Maine hosts Colby on April 10 and UMaine Farmington on April 11, before hosting Hartford for a weekend series on April 14 and 15. The team rounds out its six-game home stand by hosting Bates on April 17.
The Black Bears then hit the road when they travel to Binghamton for a four-game America East series April 21 and 22. Maine faces UMass in Amherst, Mass., before hosting Albany April 28 and 29. It will be six straight games against the Great Danes for the Black Bears, who travel to Albany the following weekend.
The Black Bears then travel to Northeastern on May 8 and Hartford May 12 and 13. The Black Bears host Boston College at Old Orchard Beach on May 15. The Black Bears close the 2012 regular season by hosting Stony Brook in a four-game weekend set May 18 and 19.
The America East Tournament is set for May 23 through 27 at a site to be determined. The winner of the 2012 America East Tournament advance to the NCAA Regionals held June 1-3.