MACOMB, Ill. – Western Illinois head baseball coach Mike Villano announced the 2010 baseball schedule, Thursday, Dec. 17.
The Fighting Leathernecks will face three opponents who participated in the 2009 NCAA Baseball Tournament including last year’s Big XII runner-up, the Oklahoma Sooners. Western’s schedule also features four teams ranked in the top 50 of the 2010 preseason RPI including the Sooners (22), Oklahoma State (25), Oral Roberts (32) and Missouri (33).
“Whether we play a school from a big conference like the Big XII or a school from a smaller conference we just want our guys to play hard,” Villano said. “We’ve got a lot of tough opponents this year and we have some tough travel dates too
but I think that will help our guys build a lot of character.”
The 2010 schedule begins with a doubleheader at Alabama State as part of a three-game series from Feb. 27-28. The Leathernecks then travel to Saint Louis for a single game against the Billikens on March 3 before traveling to Norman, Okla. to take part in the Sooner Classic from March 5-7. Western will face tournament-host Oklahoma on March 5 before a double-header against Stephen F. Austin on March 6. The Leathernecks will conclude the tournament with a single game against USF on March 7.
Western will travel back to Saint Louis for a single game tilt on March 9 before traveling to Missouri to play a single game against the Tigers on March 10. The Leathernecks continue their swing through the Big XII with a two game series at Oklahoma State from March 16-17.
The team then heads south for a three-game series at UAB from March 19-21 before facing Arkansas-Little Rock for two games from March 23-24. Western Illinois returns to the Midwest for a three-game series at Iowa from March 26-28.
Western’s home schedule opens up with a game against Coe College on March 31 before the team heads back to Iowa for a single game on April 6. The Leathernecks will then return to Macomb for an 11-game homestand beginning with a single game against Clarke College on April 7. The homestand continues as Western opens up Summit League play with a four-game series against North Dakota State (April 9-11) before welcoming Bradley for one game on April 14.
“It’s always nice to be at home for an extended period of time,” Villano said. “I think we’ll need that long homestand after being on the road for over a month. It’s always good for the team to be able to come back to a place that they know really well.”
The Leathernecks will then welcome another Summit League opponent for a four-game series when IPFW comes to town April 16-18. The homestand concludes with a game against Illinois College on April 20.
Western will hit the road again as it faces last year’s Summit League champion Oral Roberts in a four-game series from April 23-25. The Leathernecks continue Summit League play with a four-game home series against Oakland from April 30-May 2 before heading to Bradley for a single game on May 4.
Western will then travel south for the second time to take on conference foe Centenary in a four-game series from May 7-9 before returning home for a four-game series against Southern Utah from May 14-16. The Leathernecks will then travel to Davenport, Iowa for a neutral-site game against the Hawkeyes on May 18.
Western concludes its 2010 regular-season schedule with a four-game series at South Dakota State from May 20-22.
The Summit League Tournament will be held in Tulsa, Okla. from May 27-29 and features the top four teams from The Summit League.