MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois baseball has announced the schedule for the upcoming 2013 season. The 54-game schedule for the Leathernecks is highlighted by a new look conference schedule, with 30 games against Summit League opponents.
Newly hired head coach Ryan Brownlee announced the Leathernecks will play host to 16-games in the spring at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium. Western will begin home, and Summit League play on April 5, as Oakland comes to town. The home schedule will also feature games against Summit League foes Omaha, Fort Wayne, North Dakota State and South Dakota State.
"I am very excited to announce our 2013 schedule. We have a very challenging schedule," said Brownlee. "We are traveling to some great college baseball venues this spring. I look forward to seeing how our guys will handle the schedule. It feeds right into our philosophy of treating games just like practice. In college baseball if you throw strikes, handle the baseball and execute offensively you give yourself a chance to be successful against any opponent."
The Purple & Gold will begin the season with three straight weekend trips to Arkansas. Western will begin the 2013 campaign in Fayetteville taking on the University of Arkansas from February 15-17.
The team will travel to Jonesboro the following weekend to take on the Arkansas State Red Wolves. The three-game series will take place on February 23 and 24. Western will close out play in the Natural State as they take on the University of Arkansas-Little Rock. The three-game series will take place March 1-3.
Coach Brownlee and the team will embark on a spring break trip beginning up north in Minnesota, then swinging back down to southern Missouri. The eight-game road trip will begin in Minneapolis as the Leathernecks take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The three-game series takes place March 8-10 in the Metrodome.
Following the trip to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the team will travel south to St. Louis to face the Saint Louis University Billikens for a two-game series. The games are scheduled for March 12 and 13. Western will wrap up the spring break trip in Springfield for a three-game series with the Missouri State Bears. The series will begin March 15 and conclude on the 17th.
Western will conclude the beginning of the season road trip with journeys to Ann Arbor and Chicago. The Leathernecks will face off against the Michigan Wolverines from March 22-24 in Ann Arbor. Following the trip to Michigan, the Purple & Gold will travel to Chicago to square off against UIC. The two-game series takes place March 30 and 31.
Head Coach Dusty Napoleon will lead the team back to their former team, the University of Iowa, for a single game that takes place April 2. Brownlee spent nine seasons as an assistant coach at Iowa, while Napoleon played for the Hawkeyes from 2005-07 and was a coach for the team last season.and assistant coach
"I also like the new conference schedule. You will have to earn the Summit League championship," continued Brownlee. "It will give everyone a true read on who is the best team in our league because you play everyone six times. It also helps some of the teams in our league who don't have as many options for non-conference opponents. "
The Leathernecks will open up conference play at home as they play host to Oakland and Fort Wayne on April 5 and 7. Both days will feature double-headers with the respective schools.
Western will continue its eight-game home stand against Omaha.The Mavericks come to Macomb for a four-game series that begins April 12. The series continues with a double-header on April 13 and wraps up the 14th.
On April 19 and 21, the team will travel to North Dakota and South Dakota for conference games against the Bison and Jackrabbits. The April 19 games will take place in Fargo against North Dakota State. The April 21 double-header will be in Brookings against South Dakota State.
The road trip will continue from April 26-28, as the Leathernecks travel to Fort Wayne to take on the Fort Wayne Mastodons.
The team will then return home for two weekend series against North Dakota State and South Dakota State. SDSU will come to town May 3-5, while NDSU will make the journey May 10-12.
The Leathernecks will conclude the season on the road, beginning with a trip to Omaha to square off with Nebraska-Omaha for a double-header. The team then heads to Oakland to close out regular season play. The four-game series against the Golden Grizzlies is scheduled for May 16-18.
The 2012 conference tournament takes place from May 23-26 at Oakland. Four of the six conference teams will make the tournament.