Horizon League Champs Look To Return To NCAAs
DAYTON, Ohio – The Wright State baseball team continues to upgrade their schedule and head coach Rob Cooper has put together another solid schedule for his team in 2010. The Raiders will look to defend their 2009 Horizon League Championship against a schedule that will have an unmatched degree of difficulty compared to any previous season. The Green and Gold will face six teams
that made the NCAA Tournament last season and square off against teams from 12 different conferences.
The Raiders will face 2009 College World Series participant Virginia, Super Regional Participant Clemson, along with Dartmouth, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt and Xavier who were all among the field of 64 at season’s end in 2009. The Raiders appeared in their third NCAA Regional in 2009 – their second in four seasons under Cooper – and dropped a pair of tightly contests to nationally ranked TCU and Texas A&M at the Ft. Worth Regional.
In 2010, the Raiders will play 26 games versus Horizon League opponents and, in their 31 other scheduled contests, WSU will face teams from 12 separate conferences. WSU will face teams from the ACC, Atlantic 10, Big East, Big XII, Conference USA, Ivy Group, Mid-American Conference, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Missouri Valley Conference, SEC and Summit League, along with independent LeMoyne.
“Our 2010 schedule features a wealth of talented teams from around the nation,” said head coach Rob Cooper. “We will see many different styles of baseball to open the season and play some very good baseball teams to prepare us for the Horizon League schedule. Our goal is to play in an NCAA Regional every season and we have a handful of teams on our schedule, this season, which play at that level.”
The Green and Gold will open the season with four games in a round-robin tournament with Canisius and LeMoyne (2/19-21) at the USA Baseball Training Complex in Cary, NC. The following weekend, coach Cooper and his squad will head to Clemson, SC to tangle with the Tigers (2/26-28) in a three game series with the 11-time College World Series participant.
The next weekend will feature a pair of NCAA Tournament participants as the Raiders will head to Charlottesville, Virginia to play in the UVA Tournament. WSU will bookend their game against Dartmouth (3/6) with a pair of contests versus Virginia (3/5 and 3/7), who advanced to the College World Series last season. WSU will then co-host a round robin affair and kick off their home slate with a single game versus Oakland (3/12) and a twinbill with Indiana State (3/13), before traveling to Dayton for a contest on March 14.
The next three of the next four opponents for the Raiders will include a trio of NCAA Tournament regulars. WSU will travel south to take on Kentucky in a midweek tilt (3/17) before heading to Oklahoma State for a round robin tournament. The Green and Gold will take on Missouri State (3/19 and 3/21) twice and take on the host Cowboys (3/20 and 3/21) in a pair of contests. Wright State will conclude their road trip with a single game at Vanderbilt on Wednesday, March 24.
“The Horizon League has become a very competitive conference from top to bottom over the past few seasons,” said Cooper. “Every team has a chance to win on any day and our hope is that the non-conference schedule prepares our team for the grind of the league schedule. We want to be playing our best baseball at the end of the year and competing against the teams from our conference will prepare us to defend our Horizon League Championship.”
From there, WSU will open Horizon League play with a three-game set versus Valparaiso (3/26-27) at Nischwitz Stadium and then host Xavier (3/31) to close out the month. April will start with six of the first seven games on the road, with coach Cooper leading his squad into a series at Butler (4/2-3), before hosting Ohio (4/6) and traveling to Cleveland State (4/9-10) and taking part in the Joe Nuxhall Classic (4/13-14) hosted by Miami University.
The Green and Gold will then host eight-time defending Horizon League Regular Season Champion UIC for three games (4/16-17) and, then, square off with Dayton (4/21) in WSU’s Fifth Annual Military Appreciation Night at Nischwitz Stadium.
The next nine games will be on the road for the defending Horizon League Tournament Champions, starting with a double-header swing through the Chicago-area. WSU will compete at Valparaiso (4/23) and at UIC (4/24), before returning to the Buckeye State for five contests. After traveling to Toledo (4/28) for a midweek tilt, the Green and Gold will head to Niles, Ohio for a three-game series with Youngstown State (4/30-5/1).
The schedule sees a pair of contests with Cincinnati on back-to-back days, staring at Marge Schott Stadium on May 4 and then followed with a contest at Nischwitz Stadium on May 5. The next seven games will be played at Nischwitz Stadium with Milwaukee coming to town for a three game series on May 7 and 8. Cleveland State and Youngstown State will venture south for a pair of twinbills scheduled on Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16, respectively.
The Green and Gold will close out the regular season with a trip to Huntington, WV to take on the Thundering Herd of Marshall. WSU will play one game each day versus the Herd starting on May 20 and ending on May 22.
The 2010 Horizon League Championship will take place at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind. as the Raiders will begin their title defense on Wednesday, May 26. A champion will be crowned on Saturday, May 29, with a rain date on Sunday, May 30, where WSU will be looking to defend their 2009 title and make a third NCAA Tournament appearance in the last five years.