FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
DURHAM, N.C. – The North Carolina Central University baseball program has announced its 2013 slate highlighted by 34 contests inside the friendly confines of the Durham Athletic Park and only 19 games away from the Bull City as the Eagles look improve upon it second place finish in the MEAC’s Southern Division in 2012.
NCCU enters the 2013 campaign with high hopes after winning 19 games and completing one of the top-30 turnarounds in the nation a year ago.
“This year’s schedule will yet again challenge and prepare our team to contend for a conference championship,” said second year NCCU head coach Jim Koerner. “To go along with our usually tough conference schedule, we play some of the state’s tough major and mid-major programs. Overall, it is important that we consistently play a level of competition that keeps us motivated to improve daily.”
The 2013 season will begin with the Eagles staying at home for the first month as 26 of the first 29 games, including 19-in-a-row to start the year, are at the Durham Athletic Park. It all begins on Feb. 16-17 with a four-game set against the New Jersey Institute of Technology as the Highlanders took three-of-four from the Eagles last season.
Davidson travels to the DAP for a mid-week affair on Feb. 20 at 4:00 p.m. and the Blue Hose of Presbyterian make the trip from Clinton, S.C., for a three-game set on Feb. 22-24.
Defending MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) Northern Division champion Delaware State comes to the Bull City for a two-game non-conference series before the Eagles jump into league play to begin the month of March.
The arch-rival Aggies of North Carolina A&T head down the road for the first MEAC series of the year on March 2-3. Saturday will see doubleheader action at 1:00 and 4:00, with the series finale on Sunday at 1:00 at the Durham Athletic Park. NCCU went 4-2 against NC A&T last year, winning both series, but the Aggies still hold a 5-4 advantage over the Eagles.
After a March 5 contest against St. Augustine’s and a non-conference clash against Norfolk State, Koerner and his squad welcome in the defending champs of the Southern Division and conference tournament Bethune-Cookman. The Eagles went 1-4 against the Wildcats last year, but gave the perennial power fits and should look to do the same in 2013.
NCCU battles cross-town foe Duke at 6:00 p.m. on March 12 to wrap-up the 19-game season-opening homestand.
After a weekend conference series against Savannah State on March 16 and 17 at Tiger Field in Savannah, Ga., the Eagles return home for a two-game series against Coppin State on March 19 and 20 at 6:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. respectively, followed up by a weekend conference series against the Rattler of Florida A&M beginning on Saturday, March 23 with doubleheader action.
On March 26, the Eagles will entertain the newest member of the Big South Conference, Longwood, for doubleheader action at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. at the Durham Athletic Park.
The final two contests in the month of March could be a huge proving-ground for Koerner and his team. The Pirates of East Carolina, a perennial NCAA tournament squad, will take on the maroon and gray in a home-and-home series as the purple and gold will host the Eagles on Friday night, March 29 at 6:00 and the Pirates will travel to Durham for a 3:00 p.m. matchup. ECU is 3-0 all-time against NCCU and will make its first appearance in the Bull City to take on the Eagles.
“Having an opportunity to play East Carolina at home will give our fans a chance to see one of the top 25 programs in the country right in our own backyard,” said Koerner. “It will be a good weekend for us to see where we measure up against some of Division I’s top talent.”
After an out-of-conference affair against UNCG in the Gate City at 6:00 p.m. on April 1 at UNCG Baseball Stadium, NCCU will take on former CIAA foe Virginia State two days later in doubleheader action beginning at 4:00 p.m. The Eagles will then return to Greensboro for what should be a crucial conference showdown against NC A&T on April 6 and 7 from War Memorial Stadium.
NCCU will conclude its season series with Duke on April 10 at 6:00 p.m. as the maroon and gray will travel two-and-a-half miles to take on the Blue Devils at Jack Coombs Field.
On April 13 and 14, the Eagles make the trek down to Jackie Robinson Ballpark to finish off the season series with Bethune-Cookman. NCCU gave the Wildcats all it could handle in last year’s series but B-CU earned the three-game sweep, while the maroon and gray held leads for most of the series. Saturday’s doubleheader and Sunday’s single game are scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. first pitch.
The maroon and gray will begin their season series with Campbell (6:00 p.m., Durham Athletic Park) on April 16, followed up with the Eagles’ first of two matchups against High Point on April 17 at Willard Stadium in High Point, N.C., at 6:00 p.m. NCCU upended the Camels to end the 2012 regular season 12-7, earning the first win against Campbell in 15 previous tries.
The Tigers of Savannah State come to town for a crucial MEAC series on April 20 and 21, as SSU won the season series of NCCU, but the Eagles were victorious in the 2012 MEAC Baseball Championships by the final tally of 10-3. Saturday’s doubleheader is slated for a 1:00 p.m. first pitch, as well as Sunday’s series finale.
NCCU returns to the scene of quite possibly their biggest win since the program returned in 2007 on April 23 as the Eagles take on Campbell at Taylor Field at 6:00 p.m. in Buies Creek, N.C.
The month of April will end with the Eagles battling Florida A&M in a MEAC weekend series on the 27 and 28 as NCCU looks to repeat last year’s sweep at Moore-Kittles Field. Game one of the Saturday twinbill will begin at 1:00 p.m., along with the same time for Sunday’s series finale.
The maroon and gray dive head first into the month of May battling Big South foe Gardner-Webb in a weekend three-game non-conference series with a doubleheader slated to begin on Saturday, May 4 at 1:00 p.m. with the series ending on Sunday, May 5.
The regular season will conclude at home on Tuesday, May 7 as the High Point Panthers make their first trip to the Durham Athletic Park for a 6:00 p.m. showdown to finish out NCCU’s side of the home-and-home series with HPU.
The 2013 MEAC Baseball Championship returns to Marty Miller Field on the campus of Norfolk State University for a second straight year and it will take place from May 14-19.