The Redbirds are scheduled to play 53 games during the 2017 season, beginning with three at the Governor’s Challenge, hosted by Austin Peay, Feb. 17-19. Illinois State will also play eight games over spring break, a home-and-home series against in-state rival Illinois, and midweek road games at Northwestern and Notre Dame, all in addition to a challenging slate of 21 Missouri Valley Conference games.
“The 2017 schedule will be a challenging one, and it will be a diverse one. We will play teams from 11 other conferences, which includes games against Power 5 schools like Notre Dame, Northwestern and Illinois,” Durkac said. “We also play at 2016 NCAA Regional participant Xavier as part of our home-and-home series with the Musketeers in addition to an always difficult 21-game MVC slate.”
Illinois State opens the season at the Governor’s Cup, where the Redbirds will play nonconference games against Austin Peay, Indiana State and Youngstown State, before subsequent three-game weekend series at Memphis (Feb. 24-26) and Miami (Ohio) (March 2-5). Illinois State will then play eight games in 10 days over spring break, with three at Western Kentucky (March 10-12), two at Tennessee Tech (March 14-15) and three at Lipscomb (March 17-19).
Illinois State will then travel to take on the Illini on March 21 at Illinois Field, before Illinois returns to Duffy Bass Field on April 11. The Redbirds’ final nonconference road series will take place March 24-26 at 2016 NCAA Tournament qualifier Xavier.
The Redbirds will host their first home game of the season when they welcome Saint Louis on March 28. They will then head to Dallas Baptist (March 31-April 2) for their first MVC games of the spring.
Illinois State will host its first three-game series when Dayton visits April 7-9, before the Redbirds welcome in Evansville, April 14-16, in Illinois State’s first home Valley games.
The Redbirds will then play conference series every weekend the rest of the season, beginning at Bradley (April 21-23). That series will be followed by games at Wichita State (April 28-30), at home against Indiana State (May 5-7) and at Southern Illinois (May 12-14). The regular season will conclude with three games against Missouri State, May 18-20, at Duffy Bass Field.
Sprinkled between busy weekends will be challenging midweek contests on the road at Northwestern (April 5) and Notre Dame (April 19), and at home against Valparaiso (April 4), Western Illinois (April 25) and Milwaukee (May 2).
The annual Horenberger-Bass Classic, pitting Illinois State against crosstown foe Illinois Wesleyan, will be held April 12 at Duffy Bass Field.
The Illinois State baseball team returns to action this spring after posting a 17-37 overall record, including a 7-13 mark in Valley play, in 2016.