FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
FARGO, N.D. – North Dakota State head baseball coach Tod Brown has set a 52-game schedule for the 2014 season including a spring break trip to Florida for the sixth straight year and a 24-game Summit League slate.
North Dakota State opens the season Feb. 21-23 with a three-game series at Southern California before going to Murray State and Northern Colorado for a pair of four-game series. NDSU will play six games against Evansville, LIU Brooklyn, Maine, Army and Harvard in Florida before opening league play.
That first half of the schedule is about what the Bison are accustomed to, but it wasn’t the original plan. NDSU had 14 games in the Metrodome canceled due to construction, including two four-game home series with Butler and Valparaiso in February.
“We’re obviously disappointed we can’t get into the dome this year,” Brown said. “We would have liked the opportunity to be the home team for a majority of those games and not have early spring weather be a factor. But this first half schedule is going to be very competitive as it’s been in the past. We will have a chance to get a look at some of our new players and see what roles they can fill.”
The Summit League is down to five teams this year with the departure of Oakland to the Horizon League, but will be back up to six teams in 2015 with the return of Oral Roberts from the Southland Conference after a two-year league absence. Teams are scheduled to play six head-to-head games either as doubleheaders or four-game series.
NDSU opens league play with doubleheaders at Fort Wayne and Western Illinois March 28 and 30. The Bison are at South Dakota State for a pair on April 4 before playing 11 straight at home starting April 7-8 against Bemidji State and Minot State.
The Bison have home Summit League games April 12 against Omaha, April 18-20 against Western Illinois and May 15-17 with South Dakota State. Other home non-conference dates are April 13 vs. Omaha, April 22 vs. Dakota Wesleyan, April 29 vs. North Dakota, and May 10-11 vs. Winnipeg.
“We would like to have our lineup and pitching rotation figured out by the start of league play in late March,” Brown said, “but we also recognize that we are going to be seeing a lot of each other team in the league and will need to be able to adapt. Our goal is to be playing our best baseball into the month of May and be in position to win the league.”
Fort Wayne, North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Western Illinois will play in the Summit League tournament at SDSU on May 22-24 with the winner earning the league’s automatic berth in the 64-team NCAA tournament. Omaha is not eligible until the 2016 baseball season due to its reclassification from Division II.