FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
OMAHA, Neb. – Games against three teams who played in the 2011 NCAA Baseball Tournament, including the California Golden Bears who made it to the College World Series, highlight the 2012 Creighton baseball spring schedule. The Bluejays will meet up with the Cal Bears in a single game as part of the spring break trip in California, while also traveling to Kansas State (Fullerton Regional) and hosting Dallas Baptist (Ft. Worth Regional).
The Bluejays will also host four different Missouri Valley Conference weekend series, kicked off by hosting Evansville at the end of March and closing the regular season hosting Wichita State just prior to the MVC Tournament.
Creighton sets out this season aiming to defend its 2011 MVC regular season title (the first since the 2005 season) and also the State Farm MVC Tournament crown (the first since 2007). A repeat in the NCAA Tournament is in sight, as the Jays return seven starting position players and a pitcher from last year’s 45-16 team that ended the season in the Corvallis Regional.
The Jays open up play in their 54-game regular season schedule on Feb. 17, traveling to Conway, Ark., for a three-game series with Central Arkansas. One of two teams on Creighton’s spring break trip a year ago, the Bears and Bluejays played just one game (a 7-8 UCA win) after rainy weather cancelled the first game.
Creighton will then head to the Northwest part of the country to take on the Portland Pilots in a three-game weekend series Feb. 24-26. The meeting is the second of a home-and-home series, with the Jays winning all three games last year at the CU Sports Complex.
A meeting with California comes in the middle of the spring break trip, as the Jays will travel to Davis, Calif., to take on UC-Davis the first weekend of March. The three games will be followed by a Monday travel day, before the Bluejays match up with California and Sacramento State on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 6 and 7. It will be first time meetings between Creighton and UC-Davis, California and Sacramento State.
The week finishes up with a three-game series at Pacific March 9-11. Creighton has a 1-0 record over Pacific, a 14-5 win in 1996.
Creighton opens up play at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, the new home of Creighton baseball, with a single game against Louisiana Tech on Wednesday, March 14. It will be the first meeting since a 6-5 Bluejay win in 1992.
The Jays will then make a return trip to the CU Sports Complex, hosting North Dakota in a three-game, Friday-Saturday series on March 16-17. Snow forced the two teams to cancel their meeting in 2011, and the NCAA Basketball Tournament played at CenturyLink Center Omaha will force the two teams to play at the old stadium on Creighton’s campus. The Jays finished last season 9-1 in games at the CU Sports Complex.
Midweek games at NCAA Tournament qualifier Kansas State (March 20), against Nebraska-Omaha (March 27) and against Kansas (April 3) will split up the first three weekends of Missouri Valley Conference play. Creighton travels to Missouri State on Friday, March 23 to open play this season, taking on the Bears at 6:30 pm. Last year, Creighton used a sweep of the Bears in the regular season finale to clinch the title and then turned around to win two-of-three from the Bears in the MVC Tournament, including a 4-3, gut-wrenching win in 12-innings to advance to the championship game.
Evansville will travel to Omaha on March 30, 31 and April 1, followed by Indiana State on Easter weekend (April 6,7 and 8). The Jays won 5-of-6 between the two series last year, dropping the final game of the Evansville series on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
The I-80 rivalry continues this season, with the first game between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Bluejays on April 10 at 6:30 pm at Haymarket Park in Lincoln. Nebraska took 2-of-3 from the Jays last season, winning the first two. The two teams will also meet up on April 24 and May 8, both games to be played at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
Creighton welcomes South Dakota State to TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on Fri. and Sun., April 13 and 15, sandwiching a meeting with former Bluejay head coach Jack Dahm and the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sat., April 14. The Bluejays defeated Iowa 5-3 in Iowa City last season, giving Ed Servais his 290th win to move into the all-time leader at the helm of Creighton baseball.
A two game home series with BYU on April 16 and 17 leads into the second half of the MVC regular season schedule, controlled by Illinois teams. Creighton will look to avenge two-of-three losses to SIU last season, this time traveling to Carbondale, Ill., for a three-game series starting on Friday, April 20. Creighton then hosts Illinois State on Friday, April 27-29, before traveling back to Illinois to take on Bradley on May 4,5 and 6.
Creighton then finishes its non-conference portion of the schedule with five straight home games. After hosting the Huskers on May 8, NCAA Super Regional qualifying Dallas Baptist travels to TD Ameritrade Park Omaha for a three game series May 11, 12 and 13. The Patriots were the number three seed in the Ft. Worth Regional last season, finishing 3-1 to advance to play California in the Santa Clara Super Regional. It will be the deciding series between the two schools, as they hold a 2-2-0 record currently, the last game being played in 1983.
A single game with Iowa on May 15 at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha closes out the non-conference portion of the season before a series with Wichita State will close out the regular season. The Shockers took 2-of-3 in the regular season meetings, but the Jays defeated WSU in the MVC Tournament championship game to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
Creighton will then travel to Springfield, Mo. to participate in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament May 22-26.
The Bluejays finished the season 45-16 last season, including a 15-6 mark in the Valley. Creighton returns 19 players from last season, seven starters and one starting pitcher, while welcoming 12 new faces to the roster. The Jays will have to replace a couple of key players, with Trever Adams, Jonas Dufek, Jack VanLeur and Jimmy Swift all signing to play professional baseball and starting pitcher Greg Hellhake graduating.