RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University baseball team announced the schedule for its inaugural season in the new Earle Combs Stadium. The Colonels face three NCAA tournament teams for a total of nine games during the season. The University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University and University of Tennessee will make the trip to Richmond to play EKU this season.
Eastern opens the campaign in Tucson as it plays the 2015 NCAA World Series runner up University of Arizona Wildcats in a four-game series Feb. 17-20. The Wildcats won 49 games before falling in the NCAA World Series.
The Colonels fly home to Kentucky for a mid-week matchup at the University of Louisville on Feb. 22. The Cardinals won 50 games in 2016 and made it to the NCAA Super Regional.
“This is one of the toughest schedules in the history of our program. We have 11 games against teams ranked in the RPI top 100 in 2016,” said EKU Head Coach Edwin Thompson. “Opening play at the University Arizona, the College World Series runners up and at Louisville, an NCAA Super Regional team, will provide a great early season challenge. We will learn a lot about our squad early on. Road games allow the team to develop chemistry and deal with adversity early, better preparing us for conference play.”
EKU opens the new Earle Combs Stadium with a series against Oakland University Feb. 24-26.
Eastern will make the 27-mile journey north for a mid-week game at the University of Kentucky on Feb. 28. The Colonels upset UK last season at Cliff Hagan Stadium, 5-4, on May 3.
The Colonels return to Richmond for a three-week home-stand during which both Louisville and Western Kentucky University come to Richmond. Eastern opens Ohio Valley Conference play on March 10 when Belmont comes to town.
EKU leaves the friendly confines of the new stadium and heads to Morehead State for the first OVC road trip of the season on March 24-26 before heading to Huntington to play Marshall on March 28.
The month of April sees a slew of OVC games for the Colonels as they open the month hosting UT Martin. After a trip to Northern Kentucky University on April 4, EKU heads to Edwardsville, Illinois for a series with SIUE. Eastern returns home to host Austin Peay April 13-15, and the University of Dayton on April 18. The Colonels wrap up April with a trip to Eastern Illinois April 21-23, and a home series against Jacksonville State on April 28-30.
Eastern starts the month of May with a trip to Bowling Green to face Western Kentucky University on May 2 before traveling to Murray State for a weekend series May 5-7.
For the first time in over a decade, a Southeastern Conference team makes the trip to Richmond when the University of Tennessee comes to town on May 10. Eastern then hosts Tennessee Tech on May 12-14 for the final home series of the year.
The Colonels wrap up the regular season with a game at the University of Missouri on May 16, then face the defending OVC champion Southeast Missouri State May 18-20.
The OVC Tournament is set for May 25-29 in Oxford, Alabama, and the NCAA Tournament starts on June 2.
“I am really looking forward to giving our fans a great home schedule,” Thompson said. “Having Louisville and Tennessee visit our new Earle Combs Stadium is huge, not just for our team this year but our program overall. Renewing in-state rivalries with WKU and NKU is also pretty exciting. With over 30 home games, including 14 straight in March, it will be a great season for our fans.”