JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) — Thirty-one home games, including 15 Sun Belt Conference matchups and games against regional rivals Ole Miss, Missouri and Memphis highlight the 2013 Arkansas State baseball schedule, which gets underway Feb. 15 when the Red Wolves welcome Bradley to Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field for a three-game series.
The Red Wolves face competition from the SEC, C-USA, Missouri Valley, Ohio Valley and the Southland Conference in non-league action, which includes six teams that participated in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
"We are very excited about the 2013 baseball schedule," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "It will be a challenge both in nonconference and conference play. We return many experienced players and have welcomed a talented group of newcomers that will make this season a very competitive year for us."
Three of the top six Sun Belt teams from the 2012 season with visit Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field during the 2013 season. Defending regular season champion Florida Atlantic will visit Jonesboro for a weekend series March 22-24, while A-State will take on South Alabama April 12-14. Other Sun Belt schools scheduled to visit ASU include Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee and a matchup with Arkansas-Little Rock May 16-18 to close out the regular season.
Following the opening weekend series with Bradley, A-State will travel to Memphis to take on the Tigers Feb. 19, followed by a matchup with Lyon College in Jonesboro the next day. The Red Wolves will host Western Illinois Feb. 23-24 for a three-game series, which includes a double-header on Saturday that is set to begin at 1 p.m.
Other nonconference home matchups include Alabama-Birmingham (March 8-10), Missouri State (March 12-13), Southeast Missouri State (April 2), Central Arkansas (April 10), Ole Miss (April 23) and Memphis (April 30). A-State will also make road trips to Vanderbilt (Feb. 26), Sam Houston State (March 1-3), Missouri (March 19-20), Ole Miss (March 27), Southeast Missouri State (April 16) and Tennessee (May 8).
Twenty-five letterwinners return from the 2012 team that finished 34-23 and advanced to the championship game of the Sun Belt Conference tournament, including senior reliever John Koch and junior shortstop Dustin Jones who were both second-team All-Sun Belt Conference selections a year ago. Koch is ASU's all-time career and single season saves leader, while Jones was one of the most reliable shortstops in the league and hit .313 against Sun Belt competition.