NORFOLK, Va. – A first-ever matchup with an SEC program, in addition to other non-conference weekends with teams from the Big East and CAA, highlight the 2017 Norfolk State baseball schedule, which was released on Thursday.
“We are very excited about our 2017 schedule,” NSU head coach Claudell Clark said. “We have a solid mix of teams from various conferences. All the programs on our slate are very well-coached, highly-regarded programs.”
The Spartans’ 47-game regular-season slate includes 23 home games and gets underway with a three-game series at Marty L. Miller Field against Villanova on Feb. 17-19. NSU and the Wildcats of the Big East have met 22 times in the last 12 years, but not since 2014. The Spartans also have a home weekend series the following week with Niagara of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (Feb. 25-26).
NSU’s two other non-conference series take the team on the road for the first two weekends of March. First up is a three-game series at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on March 3-5. The games will be the Spartans’ first-ever against an SEC opponent. The non-conference weekend slate wraps up March 11-12 at Towson, which completes a two-year home-and-home agreement between the teams. The Spartans took two of three from the Tigers of the CAA last year in Norfolk.
“Before we move into the always-challenging MEAC portion of our schedule, we have two new faces and two familiar faces to open our weekend slate,” Clark said. “It will certainly be a highlight for us to face an SEC team for the first time ever. It will be a great challenge and experience for our team.”
In addition to the four non-conference weekend matchups, NSU also has home-and-home mid-week arrangements this season with North Carolina A&T (Feb. 22 in N.C., April 19 in Norfolk), North Carolina Central (April 26 at NCCU, May 14 at NSU) VCU (March 1 at NSU, March 8 at VCU), defending CAA champion William & Mary (March 14 at W&M, April 12 at NSU) and Longwood (May 3 at LU, May 10 at NSU). NSU also plays a non-conference road contest at Richmond on March 22.
“The quality of our non-conference opponents speaks for itself,” Clark said. “Our student-athletes are fired up about the opportunity to face some of the best programs in the state of Virginia. We also have the opportunity to square off against a couple of MEAC Southern Division programs.”
The 24-game MEAC Northern Division schedule begins on March 18-19 when NSU hosts Delaware State. The Spartans, who have won the last two Northern Division regular-season titles and were MEAC tournament runners-up last year after finishing with a 29-21 mark, play DSU and Maryland Eastern Shore nine times each and Coppin State six times.
The 2017 MEAC Baseball Championship tournament will be held May 17-20 at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Md.
“Overall, with a good number of our games at home, we are excited about our 2017 slate,” Clark said. “It will present a lot of challenges, but it could prepare us very well to make a post-season run.”