Highlights on the schedule include 22 home games at McLane Baseball Stadium, a three-game series at 2011 College World Series participant Texas A&M, the sixth annual Crosstown Showdown against the Lansing Lugnuts on April 5 at Cooley Law School Stadium, and the second annual “Clash at Comerica” vs. Central Michigan on May 15 at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit. MSU will play five teams that earned bids to the NCAA Tournament last season (St. John’s, Texas A&M, Baylor, Seton Hall, Illinois).
The defending Big Ten Champion Spartans open the 2012 campaign with the fourth annual Big Ten/Big East Challenge. Opening Day is set for Friday, Feb. 17 in Dunedin, Fla., against St. John’s, who went 36-22 last season and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Green and White will also play South Florida in Clearwater, Fla., on Saturday, Feb. 18, and Louisville in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 19. MSU went 3-0 in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge last season.
Michigan State will make its annual trip to Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C., for the First Pitch Invitational on Feb. 24-26. The Spartans will play two games each against Miami-Ohio and Furman at the event.
For its spring trip, MSU will open with a challenging three-game series at Texas A&M on March 2-4. The Aggies compiled a 47-22 record and advanced to the College World Series for the fifth time in program history last season.
The Spartans remain in the Lone Star State for another tough matchup at Baylor on March 7. The Bears were in the NCAA Tournament for the 12th time in the past 14 seasons in 2011 and finished the year with a 31-28 record.
Following four games in Texas, the Spartans head to Port Charlotte, Fla., for the Snowbird Classic to face Xavier (March 9), Seton Hall (March 10) and Pittsburgh (March 11).
MSU’s final non-conference road series will be at Cincinnati March 16-18 at Marge Schott Stadium.
Opening Day at McLane Baseball Stadium is set for Friday, March 23 vs. Oakland at 3:05 p.m. The Spartans and Grizzlies also will meet on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25.
Michigan State hosts Ohio State in the opening series of Big Ten play (March 30-April 1) at McLane Baseball Stadium. The Spartans also have home Big Ten series against Minnesota (April 20-22), Iowa (May 11-13) and Penn State (May 17-19).
The Spartans have a home-and-home conference series against Michigan. The first and third games of the series will be in Ann Arbor on Friday, April 6 and Sunday, April 8, while MSU will host the second game on Saturday, April 7.
MSU’s road Big Ten series include Indiana (April 13-15), Purdue (April 27-29) and Illinois (May 4-6).
The Spartans will play a total of eight Big Ten series, missing Nebraska and Northwestern.
In addition to Big Ten play, MSU also has non-conference midweek contests scheduled against Bowling Green (March 27), Central Michigan (March 28, April 18, May 15), Eastern Michigan (April 4), Western Michigan (April 17, May 8) and Toledo (May 9).
The Big Ten Tournament is set for May 23-26 at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio.