MILWAUKEE – A return trip to Arizona to face the Milwaukee Brewers in Spring Training and 18 home games mark some of the highlights of the 2017 schedule for the Milwaukee baseball team, head coach Scott Doffek announced today.
“We continue to challenge the team to prepare them for Horizon League play,” Doffek said. “This year’s schedule also takes us to some places we haven’t been to before, playing teams we haven’t seen in quite some time. The Horizon League continues to take huge steps when it comes to being a regional and national high-level competitor in recent years, playing to the NCAA Regional Finals again last season. We must continue to challenge our players and we feel this schedule does that.”
The Panthers will also play four Big Ten teams in the same season – taking on Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern and Iowa.
Coming off back-to-back campaigns of 30-plus wins for the first time since 2002, Milwaukee gets back to work with the season opener in mid-February. The Panthers head back to Texas to get things started for the second consecutive season, this time visiting the campus of Lamar University for games against the host school and Illinois.
The opener is set for February 17 as part of an afternoon doubleheader, taking on the Illini first and the Cardinals a few hours later.
Another major highlight will come February 24 when the Panthers make the return trip to Maryvale Baseball Park for another Spring Training exhibition with the Milwaukee Brewers. The two teams met for the first time ever in March of 2015, marking the Brewers first exhibition against a college team since 1983.
“The Milwaukee Brewers have given us the opportunity to play again in 2017,” Doffek said. “It remains a great challenge and wonderful experience for everyone involved with our program. This is the third season in a row we have been able to schedule this game and we remain extremely thankful to the Brewers organization for the opportunity.”
Early-season trips while Wisconsin is still in the middle of winter include a trek to Florida to take on Eastern Michigan the last weekend in February.
March opens with a four-game set at Evansville, followed the next weekend when the Panthers head back to Texas for a weekend series at the University of Texas at Arlington. Just before that, the Panthers make a midweek stop at Big Ten champion Minnesota March 8, which finished 46-17 and made the NCAA Tournament in 2016.
Horizon League play then opens with a trip to Kentucky for a set at Northern Kentucky University March 17-19. The next weekend will be an immediate league test, traveling to Ohio for three games against a Wright State squad that set the school record for wins for the second season in a row. The Raiders finished 46-17 as league champions in 2016, playing all the way to the NCAA Regional Finals in back-to-back years.
The first of 18 scheduled home games is set for the final weekend of March, as the Panthers are slated to take on UIC in the home opener March 31.
In addition to the conference slate, the Panthers will play a series at Bradley April 7-9 and a handful of midweek games: at Northern Illinois April 4, Chicago State April 11, Northwestern April 18, Iowa April 25 and at Illinois State May 2. Home midweek affairs include Wisconsin Lutheran May 4 and Chicago State May 10.