MONROE, La. – ULM head baseball coach Bruce Peddie announced today the program’s 56-game slate for the 2017 season, which includes three trips to SEC territory and 23 home games at Warhawk Field, highlighted by a visit from defending national champion and Sun Belt Conference newcomer Coastal Carolina.
“It is a very challenging schedule. The addition of Coastal Carolina to the Sun Belt certainly will add to the strength of our league. We understand that and we are prepared for the challenge. We are excited about the midweek games with Arkansas and Ole Miss, and the weekend series with Alabama. We certainly haven’t dodged anyone, and we think that we are ready to compete at that level and take that right into Sun Belt Conference play,” Peddie stated. “Those tough non-conference games are all part of my plan to build the program and to prepare us, so when we do get into the Sun Belt schedule, we have played some of the best teams in the country and are prepared play the best in our league. This is the year that we feel, with recruiting and the added depth we have, that this is the schedule that we should be playing.”
“The last three weekends we have Coastal Carolina, Troy and Lafayette, so we will find out what we are made of at that point. It is exciting to get these teams here at home and have the defending national champions here. We understand what the Sun Belt is and where we want to be at the end of the year.”
The 2017 season will feature some changes in Sun Belt Conference play, as the conference will conduct its baseball regular season with divisional play. Two divisions – East and West – will include six teams each and divisional champions will be awarded at the end of the year based on the winning percentage against all teams, regardless of division. ULM will be in the West division.
Also new for SBC play in 2017, the number of teams playing in the conference championship will increase from eight to ten. The 2017 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship will now be seeded with the division winners as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, with the No. 1 seed being awarded to the divisional winner with the best conference winning percentage. Seeds No. 3- No. 10 will be selected based off winning percentage in conference play, regardless of division.
The Warhawks officially open the lid on the 2017 campaign in mid-February with a three-game set at Dallas Baptist on Februray 17, 18 and 19, before fans have their first opportunity to see the team play at home. ULM begins a four-game homestand with a midweek contest against McNeese on February 21 before welcoming Southern Illinois to town for a weekend series February 24-26.
Following the home flurry, ULM embarks on a 10-game road trip that stretches into the middle of March and includes midweek contests at Jackson State (Feb. 28) and McNeese (March 1) before a weekend series at Alabama March 3-5. The Warhawks will then head up to battle Arkansas on March 7 and 8 before venturing back to the state of Alabama for a three-game set against UAB March 11-13.
Five of ULM’s next eight games will come at home inside Warhawk Field after the long road stretch, with the Maroon and Gold hosting midweek contests against Jackson State (March 15) and Grambling (March 21). Mixed in between the midweek contests will be a three-game road series at Arkansas State to open the conference slate (March 17-19) before a home weekend series against Sun Belt foe Little Rock on March 24-26.
The Warhawks make the quick trip to take on regional rival Louisiana Tech on March 28 before making their first trip to the eastern time zone March 31-April 2 to take on conference foe Georgia Southern. ULM will have a home-and-home midweek series with Northwestern State on March 4 and 5 before getting back into Sun Belt action April 7-9 at home against South Alabama.
Louisiana Tech comes to Warhawk Field on Aprill 11 before ULM treks to San Marcos, Texas for a weekend series at Texas State on April 13-15, and then takes on Grambling (April 18) before the Warhawks return home for a three-game conference set against UTA April 21-23.
ULM’s second trip to Georgia comes April 28-30 when the Warhawks take on Georgia State in Sun Belt action, followed by a two-game, midweek set with the third SEC foe on the calendar, Ole Miss, May 2 and 3.
Six of ULM’s final nine regular season contests are at home inside Warhawk Field, beginning with the first-ever Sun Belt Conference matchups against defending national champion Coastal Carolina, who visits Monroe for a weekend series May 5-7. ULM goes on its final regular season road trip the following weekend (May 12-14) to take on Troy before closing the regular season at home against rival Louisiana May 18-20.
The Sun Belt Baseball Championship will be hosted by Georgia Southern May 23-28, with NCAA Tournament selections slated for Monday, May 29. NCAA Regional play begins on June 2, with the College World Series running through June 28.