KALAMAZOO, Mich.- The Western Michigan baseball team released its 2015 schedule with a total of 19 home games including five home Mid-American Conference series. For the fourth consecutive year, WMU will play the Detroit Tigers’ top prospects team at Joker Marchant Stadium as part of the annual Florida trip.
Non-conference highlights of the schedule include home & home series with in-state rivals Michigan State and Oakland, as well as Valparaiso. The Broncos also have a road game at Northwestern and a home game slated against Notre Dame.
“Everything we do with our schedule is geared towards one thing and that is preparing our team to win a MAC Championship,” said Gernon.
Under fifth year head coach Billy Gernon, the Broncos will open up the 2015 season in Birmingham, Ala., on Feb. 13-15 against UAB, who returns an experienced squad who went 21-8 at home a season ago. The following weekend the Broncos take on UT-Martin in a four game set before heading to the APSU Tournament on Feb. 27-28 against Dayton and Northern Kentucky. WMU will also play Austin Peay twice while in Tennessee.
Western Michigan then heads to sunny Florida for three-game series against Florida Gulf Coast on March 6-8, before entering for the fifth consecutive year the Snowbird Classic, March 9-14 in Port Charlotte. The Broncos will compete against two teams from the Big East conference in Seton Hall and Georgetown along with Lehigh which last year fell in the Patriot League Championship.
“We have assembled a great schedule for our program in 2015 as it poses multiple challenges from a wide variety of competition,” said Gernon.
While competing in the Snowbird Classic, the Broncos will take a short break on March 10 to take on the Detroit Tigers top prospects team for the fourth year in a row at Joker Marchant Stadium, home of the Tigers’ spring training facilities. The unique experience has been a favorite of the Bronco players, as they have gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Major Leaguers Brennan Boesch and Bruce Rondon, and have also been greeted in the dugout by former manager Jim Leyland.
“It goes without saying how both excited and thankful we are that alumnus and Detroit Tigers CEO/GM Dave Dombrowski has made it possible for us to play the Detroit Tigers top prospects team,” said Gernon. “It is a remarkable opportunity for our guys and a tremendous privilege.”
After returning from Florida, the Brown & Gold will play host to Miami in the first MAC series on March 20-22. The early conference showdown is followed by nine-straight road games including mid-week showdowns against Big Ten opponents Northwestern and Michigan State and road MAC series at Ohio and Eastern Michigan. WMU returns to Robert J. Bobb Stadium April 10-12 against Toledo.
The Broncos jump out of conference play with a home against Valparaiso and a road contest at Oakland on back-to-back days. WMU then plays Bowling Green in a road MAC series and finishes off the road trip with a non-conference matchup against Akron at All Pro Freight Stadium – home of the MAC Tournament.
“We need to take advantage of playing at home and having the last at bat in 15 conference games and take care of business on the road so we can bring home a MAC title,” said Gernon.
Rounding out the season, the Broncos will have 12 of the final 16 games at home including three MAC series against Buffalo, defending MAC regular season champion Ball State and rival Central Michigan. Michigan State will come to town on April 22 along with Notre Dame on May 12. The final three games of the regular season are against the Chippewas May 14-16.
The 2015 MAC Tournament at All-Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio is scheduled for May 20-23, with the top eight teams making the cut. Western Michigan has advanced three of the four seasons under Gernon. Last year, the Broncos upset and eliminated the defending 2013 champion and also ousted the 2014 regular season and No. 1 seed Ball State. It was the second time ever and first since 1998 Western Michigan posted two wins in MAC postseason.
The 2015 NCAA Regionals begin May 29, with Super Regionals commencing on June 5 and the College World Series beginning June 10.