Posted: Jan 4, 2013 3:12 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - On Friday the A&M-Corpus Christi Baseball Team announced it's very challenging 2013 schedule.
The program will face a challenging slate of 56 games in the upcoming year, including 11 against teams that played in NCAA Regionals last year.
"We have always taken pride in playing the most challenging Division I schedule we can play," said head coach Scott Malone. "For the program to grow, we have to play and win games on the biggest stage."
The year kicks off on Feb. 15 at Chapman Field in a four-game series against Texas - Pan American, with single games on Friday and Sunday bookending a doubleheader on Saturday. That is followed up with a midweek game at home against UTSA on Wednesday, Feb. 20, before jumping right into the annual Kleberg Bank College Classic on Feb. 22-24 at Whataburger Field. The Islanders host New Mexico in the Friday night game, Oklahoma on Saturday evening and close out the three-day event with an afternoon game against Iowa on Sunday.
"The Kleberg Bank College Classic is a highlight for our program every year," said Malone. "I take pride in bringing some of the best national powers down to Corpus Christi every year. Oklahoma is a top 20 program, New Mexico will bring an exciting brand of offense, and Iowa rounds out the tourney with a team from one of the power conferences."
Though already seven games into the season-opening home stand, the team continues the early trend with a contest against Texas State at Chapman on Tuesday, Feb. 26, before hosting an NCAA participant from a year ago in Dallas Baptist. The teams will play March 1-3, before the 12th, and final, home game to start the year comes against Incarnate Word on Wednesday, March 6.
The first road games of the season come the weekend of March 8-10 against the Houston Cougars, and then the Islanders travel to San Marcos to play a three-game set against Texas State on March 15-17 in nonconference action.
The final two preconference games come at home against Harvard on March 18, while a March 21 contest against Houston - Victoria will be played in Victoria before heading to the first Southland Conference series of the year.
Sam Houston State awaits the Islanders on March 22-24, with the defending Southland Conference Champions hosting Texas A&M - Corpus Christi in Huntsville to open league play.
After the first weekend, a matchup against future Southland member Houston Baptist awaits at Chapman Field on March 27, before starting a series the very next day against the newest Southland member and another NCAA participant from a year ago, Oral Roberts, on March 28-30 at home.
"The Southland Conference is always loaded, no matter what team we start with," said Malone. "But playing at Sam Houston and then hosting Oral Roberts will be a unique challenge for our players. We will need to be playing our best baseball from the start."
The Texas Longhorns host the Islanders in a midweek game on April 2 in Austin before the team travels to Thibodaux, La. for a league series against Nicholls on April 5-7. The road swing rounds out on April 9 in San Antonio against former conference foe UTSA.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi hosts Northwestern State (April 12-14), Central Arkansas (April 19-21), UHV (April 23), McNeese State (May 3-5) and Lamar (May 10-12) at home over the course of the last two months, while traveling to Houston Baptist (April 16), Southeastern Louisiana (April 26-28), UTPA (April 30) and Stephen F. Austin (May 16-18) to finish up the year.
"I have been told by two SEC coaches that everyone underestimates the Southland Conference," said Malone. "It is one of the deepest and most talented in the nation, and this year will be no different. We feel like we have a strong roster of players that are ready to compete for a championship."
The series against SFA is the final regular season set before the start of the Southland Conference Tournament. The event will be held at a neutral site in Sugar Land, Texas this year, with all games being played at Constellation Field, the home of the Sugar Land Skeeters. Play in the tournament begins on Wednesday, May 22, and will run through Saturday, May 25.
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