Baseball releases schedule for 2017 season
Start circling those calendars, baseball fans, as the Cougars released its 2017 season schedule on Tuesday.
With 29 games set to be played at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park, students and alumni will have plenty of opportunities to watch baseball’s quest to return to the American Athletic Conference Championship.
The team finished 36-23 last season and came one win short of an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars were disappointed to find that they narrowly missed an at-large bid to the tournament—likely because they did not have enough quality wins.
Head coach Todd Whitting hopes that this year’s strengthened non-conference schedule will help them get a coveted at-large bid if they fail to win the conference.
“Once again, the schedule is one that I feel puts us in the best position to earn an NCAA at-large bid,” Whitting said in a press release. “Our nonconference slate is filled with quality opponents, which gives us the opportunity to elevate our (Rating Percentage Index). This schedule will be a challenge to our team, and we are looking forward to the competition ahead of us.”
Baseball will open their season at home for the 12th consecutive season when they participate in a three-team opening weekend event with games against Nicholls State University and Wake Forest University on Feb. 17–19.
The Cougars will try to sweep their opening weekend series for the fourth year in a row.
The 2017 schedule features nonconference matchups against Baylor University, The University of California–Irvine, Sam Houston State University and the University of Louisiana–Lafayette.
For the first time in team history, baseball will participate in the Whataburger Classic in Corpus Christi on Feb. 24–26. The Cougars are slated to battle it out in Whataburger Field against the University of Missouri, Florida International University and Texas A&M–Corpus Christi.
“We are thrilled to play in the Whataburger Classic in Corpus Christi as it is typically one of the most competitive tournaments in the country,” Whitting said. “Whataburger Field is a tremendous venue with an opportunity for our fans to travel to a great city and see us play.”
The Cougars will attempt to capture their fourth consecutive Silver Glove Series when they take on crosstown rival Rice University. The first matchup will take place on April 4 at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park, April 11 at Reckling Park and the finale on May 11 at Constellation Field in Sugar Land.
The team is set to open conference play on March 31 when they travel to Orlando for a three-game weekend series with the University of Central Florida.
Their schedule features home-conference matchups with Eastern Carolina University, Tulane University, the University of Connecticut and the University of Cincinnati Bearcats.
“I expect the American Athletic Conference to again be one of the premier leagues in college baseball,” Whitting said. “The success our league has had over the past few years in earning numerous bids to the NCAA Tournament and the tremendous coaches in our league, assure that week in and week out it will be extremely competitive.”