JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) — Twenty-eight home games, including five Sun Belt Conference weekend series and matchups with regional rivals Ole Miss and Memphis highlight the schedule for the 2012 Arkansas State baseball season, which gets underway Feb. 17 when the Red Wolves travel to Beaumont, Texas to play in the Lamar Classic.
The Red Wolves' home opener is scheduled for Feb. 22 against Murray State, beginning a string of nine consecutive home games for A-State. Arkansas State will then travel to Clarksville, Tenn. for the March 9-11 Austin Peay Riverview Inn Challenge before opening SBC play March 16-18 at home against in-state rival UALR.
Three of the top five Sun Belt teams from the 2011 season will visit Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field for weekend series during the 2012 season. After winning the 2011 SBC Championship, UALR advanced to the NCAA Tournament, along with Florida International, which will close out the Red Wolves' SBC home slate with a May 11-13 series in Jonesboro. Other Sun Belt schools scheduled to visit ASU include Louisiana-Monroe, Western Kentucky and South Alabama.
The Red Wolves' home schedule also includes weekend series against Evansville and South Dakota State, along with a two-game series against SIU-Edwardsville. Southeast Missouri State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff will visit Jonesboro as well, and ASU will play the Golden Lions a second time when the Red Wolves travel to Dickey-Stephens Park in Little Rock to take on UAPB in the State Farm Arkansas Classic. Arkansas State's game at the State Farm Arkansas Classic will be part of a doubleheader that also includes a UALR-Central Arkansas Matchup.
"We are very excited about the 2012 baseball schedule," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "With 28 games at Tomlinson Stadium and an opportunity to play at Dickey-Stephens Park in Little Rock, this year's schedule will be very exciting for Red Wolves baseball fans. The early portion of the season will present our team with challenges that will prepare us for the always-tough Sun Belt Conference opponents, and we look forward to putting a very competitive team on the field in 2012."
Six starting position players return from the 2011team that finished 27-31-1 and won two games at the SBC Tournament, including starting pitcher Jacob Lee, and outfielders Ryan Emery, Michael Faulkner and Logan Uxa. Lee was the preseason 2011 SBC Pitcher of the Year and finished the season with a team-low 3.25 ERA and a 5-4 record, while Emery finished second on the teamwith a .314 batting average.