FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
CHICAGO, Ill. – The UIC baseball team released its 2012 schedule Tuesday, as the Flames look to be challenged early by tough non-conference opponents. UIC will play 10 different schools from eight separate leagues throughout its non-conference slate.
The Flames open play with a three-game series against Texas A&M on Fri, Feb. 17. The Aggies are fresh off their first College World Series appearance since 1999 and ended last season ranked No. 8 in the final NCBWA poll.
From College Station, the Flames travel to Santa Clara for the three-game swing with the Broncos starting on Feb. 24. UIC then ends its early-season road trip with a three-game series against SEC-foe Kentucky on March 2-4. The Flames defeated the Wildcats last year on Feb. 25, by a final score of 10-8.
Les Miller Field will see its first action of 2012 as the Flames’ home opener will take place on March 9 against Big Ten- and in-state-foe Northwestern. Last season UIC was nipped by NU, 3-2, in Evanston on May 10.
“Our non-conference schedule gives us a really good idea of how we match up against some of the best competition in the country,” said head coach Mike Dee. “It will give us a clear evaluation of where we stand and we’re excited about that.”
Other non-conference opponents include Northern Illinois (March 20 and May 2), Bradley (March 21 and April 10), Notre Dame (March 27), Indiana State (April 3), Purdue (April 17 and May 9) and Edgewood (April 24).
Horizon League action begins on March 16 as UIC, the reigning conference regular season co-champion, squares off against the league tournament champion Wright State in Dayton, Ohio. The Flames first home conference test will be against Youngstown State on March 23.
“I like to think we are going to be competitive in the league and we can be,” said Dee. “We still have a few areas to work on but the talent is there.”
UIC will wrap up league and regular season play at home on May 19 versus Butler.
The Horizon League Tournament is set to begin on May 23 as Les Miller Field will play host to the six conference baseball programs. This marks the first time UIC has hosted the tournament since 2007.
“Knowing that the tournament is here is exciting for us,” said Dee. “As anybody does, we like playing at home. To have the opportunity to play in a place you’re familiar with and where you practice tends to be the most relaxed kind of environment.”