West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck announced today the 56-game 2012 Mountaineer baseball schedule, highlighted by 17 games against teams that competed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
“Coach Greg Van Zant has put together an exciting and challenging schedule for the spring,” Luck says. “I look forward to seeing the team’s progression throughout the season.”
The Mountaineers will play 26 games at the friendly confines of Hawley Field, including BIG EAST series with Connecticut, Villanova, Pitt, Louisville and USF. WVU will play 18 road games and 12 neutral site games, including the 10th annual Mountaineer Diamond Classic in Charleston, W.Va.
“This is quite possibly our most difficult regular season schedule ever,” Van Zant says. “Our players and coaches are excited about the challenge and we are looking forward to the first pitch in February.”
West Virginia will open the 2012 campaign at the annual Big Ten/BIG EAST Baseball Challenge. WVU will face Northwestern on Feb. 17 at Al Lang Field, in St. Petersburg, Fla., followed by a game against Penn State on Feb. 18 at Bright House Field, in Clearwater, Fla. WVU will return to St. Petersburg on Feb. 19 for games against Michigan and Iowa at the Walter Fuller Complex.
A week later, WVU will face Virginia Tech (Feb. 24), NC State (Feb. 25) and George Mason (Feb. 26) at the Baseball at the Beach Tournament in Conway, S.C., and Myrtle Beach, S.C.
WVU will continue its road swing by opening the month of March at the Dairy Queen Classic at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn., with games against Nebraska (March 2), Minnesota (March 3) and New Mexico State (March 4). WVU also participated at this prestigious in 2004.
The home schedule will commence with a doubleheader against Niagara on March 6, before traveling west to the inaugural Nike Showcase, co-hosted by Oregon and Oregon State. WVU will play at Oregon State on March 9, before heading to Eugene, Ore., to take on Oklahoma and Oregon on March 10, and Illinois on March 11.
WVU then returns home for an 11-game home stand at Hawley Field with a two-game series against Eastern Michigan (March 13-14), four-game series against Manhattan (March 16-18), a doubleheader against Akron (March 20) and the start of BIG EAST play against Connecticut (March 23-25).
The Mountaineer Diamond Classic will again be at Power Park in Charleston, W.Va., featuring a game against Morehead State for the second consecutive season on March 27.
Other BIG EAST home series include Villanova (April 5-7), Pitt (April 20-22), Louisville (May 5-6) and USF (May 17-19). WVU also will have a home non-conference game against Akron on May 9.
WVU will be on the road for BIG EAST series at St. John’s (March 30-April 1), Rutgers (April 13-15), Seton Hall (April 27-29) and Georgetown (May 11-13). WVU will travel to Maryland (April 11), Akron (April 17) and Coppin State (April 24) for non-conference road games.
The BIG EAST will return to Clearwater, Fla., for the BIG EAST Tournament with all games being held at Bright House Field from May 23-27. The tournament continues to be double-elimination for the 2012 season.
The Mountaineers completed 2011 with a 28-27 overall record, including a 14-13 mark in BIG EAST action to qualify WVU for its fourth consecutive BIG EAST Tournament appearance. Five starting position players return for 2012 with a total of 14 letterwinners returning, including five pitchers.