Rugged schedule awaits Kent State baseball in 2013

Record-Courier staff REPORT Published:

The Kent State baseball team will look to continue its success after advancing to the College World Series last season while battling a typically difficult schedule in 2013.

The 57-game lineup includes an opening-weekend matchup against fellow NCAA Tournament qualifier UNC Wilmington, and takes the Golden Flashes to nine different states throughout the season. Kent State will play in front of a home crowd 18 times while playing 39 road games.

The season will begin in warmer climates as the Golden Flashes travel first to Wilmington, N.C., for games against UNC Wilmington and Virginia Tech (Feb. 15-17). The following weekend will be the longest trip as Kent State faces the University of San Diego for four games (Feb. 22-24). Trips to Louisville University (Mar 1-3), the University of Charlotte (Mar. 8-10) and Memphis University (Mar. 15-17) round out the early spring road trips.

Kent State's first home game will be on Wednesday, March 20, as it hosts the Pittsburgh Panthers at 3 p.m. The Flashes also play non-conference games at home against Penn State (April 3), Niagara (April 16-17) and Youngstown State (April 23). Non-conference road games include Notre Dame (Mar. 25-26), Penn State (April 9), Youngstown State (May 1) and Pittsburgh (May 14).

Similar to last year's schedule are non-conference games against conference opponents. The Flashes will play Toledo on the road (Apr. 2) and at home (Apr. 10). They play Eastern Michigan at all Pro Freight Stadium in Avon on Apr. 30.

The Golden Flashes begin to work towards their third-consecutive Mid-American Conference championship on the road at Northern Illinois March 22-24. They then face Ball State (Mar. 29-31) and Ohio University (Apr. 5-7) at home. Those Friday games are slated to begin at 4 p.m., and the Saturday and Sunday games at 1 p.m. They also host Bowling Green (Apr. 26-28) and Central Michigan (May 3-5) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. The April 26 and May 3 games will begin at 6 p.m., with the rest of the games starting at 1 p.m. MAC road-contests are scheduled for Miami (Apr. 12-14), Buffalo (Apr. 19-21) and Western Michigan (May 10-12).

Kent State finishes MAC play against rival Akron, beginning with the Sixth Annual Diamond Classic for Kids at Canal Park in Akron on May 16 at 6:30 p.m., a contest that benefits Akron Children's Hospital.

The MAC Tournament is slated for May 22-26 at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon. Kent State has won the last four tournament championships and six and in the last 10 years. The winner of the MAC Tournament receives an automatic bid to NCAA Regionals scheduled for June 1-4. Regional winners then advance to the NCAA Super Regionals June 8-11. The College World Series will be held June 15-26 in Omaha, Neb.

The 2012 KSU squad ended the season with a record 47 wins and the school's first ever College World Series appearance. The Flashes won four straight in the MAC Tournament to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, then went on to win four more consecutive games in the Gary Regional. Kent State won two-out-of-three games over Oregon at the Eugene Super Regional to advance to Omaha, where the Flashes defeated No. 1-ranked Florida in an elimination game. Their historic 2012 season ended with a loss to reigning NCAA champion South Carolina.

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