FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
NORMAL, Ill. – Six 2011 NCAA Division I Tournament participants and 11 teams that won 30 or more games highlight the 52-game 2012 Illinois State baseball schedule released by head coach Mark Kingston Monday. The ISU Athletics Department also announced that admission will be free to all 17 home games played at Duffy Bass Field.
“Our team is working extremely hard in preparation for our 2012 season, and we will be ready for the demands of high level college baseball,” Kingston said. “The Missouri Valley Conference is coming off of a top-seven ranking in the country last year, so we must be prepared for that challenge.”
The Redbirds will face 2011 NCAA Tournament participants and 30-plus game winners Austin Peay, Creighton, Illinois, Maine, Miami and Navy. ISU is also scheduled to play five other teams with 30 or more victories last season, including Missouri State, Northern Illinois, Purdue, Southeast Missouri and Wichita State.
Illinois State will open with 20-consecutive road games, starting with four at Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tenn. (Feb. 17-19). ISU is then scheduled to play a three-game series at Tennessee Tech (Feb. 24-26) and a four-game set at Southeast Missouri (Mar. 2-4), before the Redbirds fly to Florida for their spring break trip. ISU will once again compete at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational in Winter Haven, Fla., where the Redbirds will play Maine (Mar. 9), Western Michigan (Mar. 10), Iowa (Mar. 11), Navy (Mar. 16) and Army for a doubleheader (Mar. 17).
While in Florida, Illinois State will return to Miami for a midweek game (Mar. 13) in Coral Gables, Fla., against the No. 24 team in the country, according to last year’s final USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches’ Poll. Kingston, who was an assistant at Miami when the Hurricanes won the 2001 College Baseball World Series, guided the Redbirds to a 1-1 series split in Coral Gables last year. Illinois State will also play a midweek game at South Florida (Mar. 14), in Tampa, Fla., before returning to Winter Haven.
Following the spring break trip, ISU will play at SIU Edwardsville (Mar. 21) before opening its home schedule against Division III schools MacMurray College (Mar. 23) and Webster (Mar. 25). The Redbirds are then slated to host Illinois (Mar. 27), before starting MVC play at Indiana State (Mar. 30-Apr. 1). Illinois State’s remaining Valley season includes a home series against Wichita State (Apr. 6-8). ISU is then on the road at Missouri State (Apr. 13-15), home versus Bradley (Apr. 20-22), at Creighton (Apr. 27-29), home against Southern Illinois (May 4-6) and at Evansville (May 17-19).
The Redbirds will also play non-conference midweek matchups at Northern Illinois (Apr. 10), at Illinois (Apr. 17), at home against Purdue (Apr. 24), at Illinois Wesleyan for the Horenberger-Bass Classic (May 1) and at home for a three-game series versus Western Illinois (May 11-13).
The 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Championship will be hosted by Missouri State (May 22-26) at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo.
All 52 Illinois State baseball games are scheduled to be broadcast live via the Illinois State Radio Network on GoRedbirds.com and WJBC.com.