JONESBORO, Ark. – Thirty-one home games, including 15 Sun Belt Conference matchups and a home clash with perennial national power Ole Miss highlight the schedule for the 2010 Arkansas State baseball season, which gets underway Feb. 19 when the Red Wolves host Southern Illinois in a three-game series at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
Three of the top four teams in last year’s Sun Belt Conference regular season standings will visit Tomlinson Stadium, including defending regular season co-champions Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky. Florida International, which finished fourth in the regular season a year ago, and sixth-place
South Alabama will also travel to Jonesboro. The Red Wolves will close out the regular season by hosting in-state and conference rival Arkansas-Little Rock.
Regional rivals Memphis, Southeast Missouri State, Murray State and UT Martin will all visit Jonesboro during the regular season as well, and the 2010 schedule marks the first time since the 2004 season that ASU’s schedule consists entirely of Division I opponents.
Arkansas State will play 11 of its first 12 games at home, hosting SIU, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Portland in the season’s first three weekends. The Red Wolves open SBC play March 12-14 at Louisiana-Lafayette before returning to Jonesboro to face MTSU in the March 19-21 SBC home opener.
“We are very excited about the 2010 baseball schedule,” said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. ”We are presented with some early challenges before conference play begins that will help prepare us for play in the Sun Belt. The 31 home games at Tomlinson Stadium will be a great opportunity for our players, our fans, and the people in Northeast Arkansas to watch quality baseball.”
Seven starters return from last year’s team, including All-Sun Belt Conference performer Murray Watts, who hit .305 a year ago and led the team with 16 doubles, 10 home runs and 44 RBIs. Junior outfielder Todd Baumgartner, who hit a team-best .350 with 15 doubles, eight home runs and 43 RBIs returns as well. The Red Wolves also return junior Andy Ferguson and sophomore Jacob Lee who were both weekend starters on the mound a year ago.