SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Highlighted by trips to Oregon State, Ohio State and Stony Brook, the Bryant University baseball team and head coach Steve Owens have announced the club’s 2013 schedule.
The defending Northeast Conference Regular-Season champions, the Bulldogs will face arguably their toughest 56-game slate since moving to the Division I ranks in 2009. The 2013 season also represents Bryant’s first year as postseason eligible team after completing the mandatory four-year transitionary process.
“This is a very challenging schedule, especially in the early part where we travel extensively and play some of the top teams in the country,” Owens said. “We’re hoping not only to compete and win, but also to prepare ourselves for the Northeast portion of schedule, conference and non-conference games alike.”
The early part of that schedule will be one of the toughest ever for the Bulldogs, with trips to Texas, Oregon and Ohio in the first month of the season. Bryant opens the 2013 season in Houston on Feb. 22 with a four-game weekend series against Houston Baptist. The Bulldogs swept a three-game series with the Huskies during the 2011 season.
Then, it’s off to Corvallis, Ore., in what is arguably the toughest three-game series the Bulldogs will play since moving to the Division I level. The Beavers won back-to-back National Championships in 2006 and 2007 and are coming off a NCAA Regional appearance last season, finishing 25th in the final national poll. The Bulldogs and Beavers will square off three times beginning on Friday, March 1.
The Bulldogs’ last long trip of the season takes them to Ohio during the school’s spring break. Bryant opens the trip against Wright St. in Dayton, Ohio, as part of the Dayton tournament. The Black and Gold then face the defending Atlantic-10 champion, and host, Flyers on Saturday for a doubleheader. A matchup on Sunday with Bradley completes the weekend in Dayton for Bryant. The Bulldogs then head to Cincinnati to face Xavier on Tuesday before heading onto Columbus for a three-game weekend series with Big Ten member Ohio State.
Upon return to the Northeast, the Bulldogs open the home portion of their schedule, as well as NEC play, with a four-game series against Mount St. Mary’s at Conaty Park. Bryant will also host four-game conference series’ with Quinnipiac (Apr. 12-14), LIU Brooklyn (Apr. 26-28) and Monmouth (May 10-12). The Bulldogs road series’ include trips to Fairleigh Dickinson (Mar. 28-30), two-time defending tournament champion Sacred Heart (Apr. 19-21), Central Connecticut (May 3-5) and a season-ending series with Wagner (May 16-18).
Scattered amongst Bryant’s league games is an extremely difficult non-conference schedule. Following their opening series with the Mount, the Bulldogs travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to face ACC member Boston College (Mar. 27). The Bulldogs then face intrastate rival Brown on April 2 in Providence before opening up an eight-game homestand that features a weekday matchup with another instrastate foe, Rhode Island (Apr. 10).
Bryant’s next two non-conference games come against two of the top teams in the Northeast Region over the last several years. On April 16, the Bulldogs travel to Stony Brook, N.Y., to face a Seawolves team that won an America East championship last year and advanced all the way to the College World Series in Omaha. The following week, the Black and Gold will welcome regional powerhouse Connecticut to Smithfield. The Bulldogs earned their first-ever victory over the Huskies last season.
The Bulldogs’ non-conference schedule is capped with a visit from Northeastern on April 30. Bryant then plays three consecutive conference weekends to close out the season, ending the year on Staten Island against Wagner.
The NEC Championships will run from May 23-26 and once again be held at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Conn. The winner of the conference tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, beginning with regional play on May 31.
In all, the Bulldogs will face square off against team from the BIG EAST (1), ACC (1), PAC-12 (1), CAA (1), America East (1), Horizon League (1), Missouri Valley (1), Great West (1), Ivy (1), MAAC (1) and the A-10 (3).