GREENVILLE, S.C. — Four games at Flour Field, including clashes against both South Carolina and Clemson, a three-game series at Mississippi, and 38 contests within the Palmetto state highlight Furman’s 56-game 2017 baseball schedule, which was released today by new Paladin head coach Brett Harker.
Furman will play South Carolina on Mar. 14 and Clemson on May 9 at Fluor Field — part of a 31-game home schedule that also features contests versus Michigan State (Mar. 3) and Presbyterian (Mar. 5) at the beautiful downtown facility that serves as the home of the Boston Red Sox Single A South Atlantic League affiliate Greenville Drive.
Furman opens the season with a three-game series against Dayton (Feb. 17-19) at Latham Stadium on campus and will play 11 of its first 13 games at home, including a three-game set versus Monmouth (Feb. 24-26).
Presbyterian (Feb. 21) will provide Furman its first road test.
The Paladins travel to Jackson, Miss., to take on the Ole Miss Rebels in a three game series (Feb. 10-12) and return home to entertain another Southeastern Conference foe, South Carolina (Mar. 14), at Fluor Field.
Furman faces Georgia State (Mar. 21) in Atlanta for the first time since 2007 before opening Southern Conference action at Wofford (Mar. 24-26).
The Paladins’ first of two season clashes with Clemson (Mar. 28) will be played at Clemson.
Mercer (Mar. 31-Apr. 2) will provide the opposition in Furman’s lone SoCon home series over its first 12 league games, but over the final month of the regular season the Paladins entertain East Tennessee State (Apr. 21-23), The Citadel (Apr. 28-30), and VMI (May 12-14) at Latham Stadium.
Furman will wrap up the regular season with a three-game road set at Belmont (May 18-20) before coming home for SoCon Tournament action (May 23-28), scheduled once again at Fluor Field.
The Paladins, who posted a 29-30 overall record and 16-12, fourth place SoCon finish last year, return seven position regulars and two of three weekend starting pitchers, including 2016 SoCon Pitcher of the Year, junior right-hander Will Gaddis (10-3, 3.45 ERA).
Among the Paladins top position returnees are senior outfielder Carter Grote (.318, 6 HR, 28 RBI) and senior catcher Cameron Whitehead (.340, 4 HR, 20 RBI) — both of whom return after suffering season ending injuries a year ago — sophomore third baseman Jake Crawford (.308, 1 HR, 31 RBI), and sophomore right fielder Jabari Richards (.343, 10 HR, 25 RBI), the 2016 SoCon Freshman of the Year.
In addition to the Gaddis, the pitching staff features senior right-hander Matthew Quarles (7-7, 5.32 ERA), sophomore left-hander Grant Schuermann (missed 2016 due to injury), and a pair of sophomore relievers, Heath Hawkins (3-0, 6.27 ERA, 1 Save) and Jake Crawford (0-5, 5.77 ERA, 5 Saves).
Harker is entering his first year as Furman’s head coach after being hired in July following two seasons as the Paladins’ pitching coach.