FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
MILWAUKEE – The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team will open the upcoming season on the road against East Carolina University, head coach Scott Doffek announced today when he released the 2012 schedule.
“Once again, we have put together a very challenging schedule,” Doffek said. “We play 16 games this year against teams that were in the NCAA tournament last season. We also have seven games against the Big Ten.”
The Panthers, coming off a 28-28-1 mark, are just one season removed from a Horizon League Tournament Championship and their fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history. They begin the campaign with a three-game set against the ECU Pirates in Greenville, N.C. The season opener is set for Friday, Feb. 17, while the home opener is scheduled for March 30 against UIC.
“The Horizon League has become very competitive from top to bottom and is a battle week-in and week-out,” Doffek said. “We need to take advantage of every opportunity that is given to us and this schedule is full of those opportunities. These guys are really working hard and starting to come together as a team. The coaches and players are very much looking forward to the challenge.”
The opening series features a matchup against an East Carolina team that won 41 games in 2011 and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The next weekend, Milwaukee heads west to take on Big Ten opponent Minnesota. The Panthers and Gophers play a three-game weekend series to close out February.
In March, road trips to California for a tournament at San Diego State and Arkansas for a series against NCAA-qualifier Arkansas Little Rock open the month. At the SDSU tournament, UWM faces a San Francisco squad that won 32 games and made an NCAA appearance as well as the host Aztecs – coached by MLB great Tony Gwynn – as well as Cal Poly and San Diego.
Horizon League play begins with back-to-back weekend series, getting the slate underway at Youngstown State March 16-18 followed by a three-game set at Valparaiso March 23-25.
The first home date awaits 22 games into the schedule, welcoming UIC to Henry Aaron Field March 30-April 1.
The homestand continues with dates against Cardinal Stritch April 5, Butler April 6-8 and Wisconsin Lutheran April 11.
The Panthers face the league’s representative to the NCAA Tournament – Wright State – on the road April 13-15, taking on a Raiders squad that went 36-17 a season ago.
Home series against league opponents wrap up with YSU (April 20-22), Valpo (April 27-29) and then closing out against the Raiders (May 17-19).
Other non-conference matchups feature games at Northwestern (April 17), Northern Illinois (April 25) and Iowa (May 1). Home games include NIU (May 15) and then a date at Miller Park against the NU Wildcats (May 8).