FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- The Western Michigan baseball team released its 2014 schedule Monday, Nov. 18. Highlights include four home Mid-American Conference series, home & home pairings with Michigan State, Northwestern and Valparaiso, as well as road contests at Louisville, Michigan and Notre Dame. The Broncos will play the Detroit Tigers Prospect team for the third year in a row at Joker Marchant Stadium as part of the annual Florida trip.
Western Michigan kicks off the 2014 campaign with a three-game series against Conference USA opponent Memphis at Fed Ex Stadium, Feb. 14-16, before heading to Louisville for a three-game series, Feb. 21-23. The Cardinals are coming off a year in which they made it to the final eight of the College World Series.
“The 2014 schedule stands to be very challenging with quality competition from start to finish,” said head baseball coach Billy Gernon. “Both weekends will prove be a great chance for our team to play well on the road against formidable opponents.”
The Broncos will then make a trip south to sunny Florida to play in the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte against seven different teams, including reigning Summit League regular season conference champions, Nebraska-Omaha. The trip to Florida will also feature 2013 American East runner-up Maine and Northeastern, who in its conference tournament run last year knocked off two of the top three teams before falling one game short of the championship game.
While competing in the Snowbird Classic, the Broncos will take a short break on March 5 to take on the Detroit Tigers Prospects team for the third year in a row at Joker Marchant Stadium, home of the Detroit Tigers Spring training facilities.
“Getting to play in Joker Marchant Stadium makes something sweet even sweeter and we want to thank alumnus Dave Dombrowski for making this a possibility,” said Gernon. “The Tigers are a first class organization and our players really enjoy the game, the atmosphere and the ever growing crowd.”
Once back from Florida, the team heads down the road to Indianapolis, to take on an improving Butler squad before their first Mid-American Conference series, traveling to Miami, March 21-23. The Broncos then play two consecutive games against Big Ten opponents, beginning with the home-opener against Northwestern on March 2, followed by a road game at Michigan a day later. The Broncos have defeated in Ann Arbor the last two seasons and will be looking for a win over Northwestern for the third year in a row as well.
Heading back into MAC play, the Broncos will have their first of four home series against Ohio, March 28-30. WMU returns the trip to Northwestern, April 2, and hosts defending MAC Tournament Champion Bowling Green, April 4-6. The Broncos also complete a home & home series with Michigan State, squaring off in East Lansing on April 9.
Throughout the majority of April, WMU will be on the road against MAC opponents Buffalo, Akron and Ball State. Buffalo and Ball State will be three-game conference series and the meeting against Akron is a one-game matchup, considered non-conference and will be played at All Pro Freight Stadium – home of the MAC Tournament.
Rounding out the season, the Broncos will have eight of their final 17 games at home including two home MAC series against Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan. Michigan State will come into Kalamazoo on May 6 for yet another showdown and defending Horizon League Tournament Champion Valparaiso will be in town for the last home game of the regular season.
The Broncos are on the road for their final six games of the year, traveling to Toledo, May 9-11, and to rival Central Michigan, May 15-17.
“Our conference schedule will require us to demonstrate that our pre-conference schedule prepared us to be mentally tougher, play with consistency and excel in this very competitive conference,” said Gernon.
The 2014 MAC Tournament will be held at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio and is scheduled for May 21-25. WMU hopes to get back into the conference tournament after narrowly missing out last year. It would be the third time in the last four years the Broncos have made the tournament. If success bodes well for the Broncos, the NCAA Regionals start on May 30.