VESTAL, N.Y. – Coming off back-to-back America East regular season championships, Binghamton baseball has released its 2018 schedule. The Bearcats, who have won a combined 10 regular season and tournament crowns in the last 11 years, start their spring with a three-game set at Northwestern State University in Louisiana on Feb. 16-18.
“Every year the goal is to put together a schedule filled with early-season and mid-week challenges in hopes that those games help prepare us as a program for the rigorous demands of the America East Conference,” 26th-year head coach Tim Sinicki said. “I most certainly believe we’ve accomplished that with the 2018 schedule and are excited to get to Natchitoches, Louisiana, for the season opener.”
Before BU begins conference play in mid-March, the team will play four series’, the last three of which will be in the state of Virginia. The team plays its first 22 games on the road before its home opener April 3 vs. Bucknell. Over the last two seasons, BU has gone 30-5 at home – a win percentage (.857) topped only by Louisville (.909) across the nation. Last season the Bearcats went 30-13 (.698), the 15th-highest win percentage in the country.
The opening weekend opponent Demons play out of the Southland Conference and won 20 games in 2017. Next on the road travels is a three-game set at Big South regular season runnerup Liberty (Feb. 23-25). Back-to-back weekend tilts against Atlantic 10 members kicks off the March slate. After facing Richmond on March 2-4, the Bearcats will meet A-10 regular season champion VCU (March 9-11), which went 35-22, including 21-7 in league play.
America East play begins on March 17-18 when the Bearcats face Stony Brook on Long Island. The conference slate is a 24-game stretch with home and home series’ against Stony Brook and UMBC and single series’ against the other four opponents (UMass Lowell, Hartford, Albany, Maine).
The biggest non-conference series of the spring will be a three-game set at first-time foe St. John’s on March 23-25. The Red Storm are a perennial NCAA tournament team, having made nine trips in the last 14 years. Last season the Johnnies went 42-13, were runnerup in the BIG EAST and earned an at-large NCAA bid after being ranked in the top-25 all season.
Binghamton then faces Big Ten member Penn State for the third straight year. Last spring the Bearcats posted a 6-3 win in State College.
Intermixed between conference games will be single dates against traditional rivals Bucknell (April 3), Cornell (April 10, April 24, May 2), Marist (April 18), St. Bonaventure (May 1), Siena (May 8), Iona (May 17) and Central Connecticut State (May 18). Marist won the MAAC championship and CCSU won the Northeast Conference title, giving the Bearcats 13 games against NCAA tournament teams from a year ago.
The 2018 America East tournament will hike all the way up to Orono, Maine on May 23-27. Binghamton has won three tournament titles in the last five years.