The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Baseball Team will play a total of 54 regular-season games during the 2012 season, including 10 games against teams who earned berths to last year's NCAA Tournament, including Dallas Baptist, Rice, Texas State, Texas and Baylor. The schedule features 24 games at home, including three at Whataburger Field in the annual Kleberg Bank College Classic.
"I think ever since we've been here, the schedule is a tool to put this program on the map, whether it's the Southland Conference map, the Texas map, where baseball is huge, or even the national map," said Head Coach Scott Malone. "Last year, beating Oregon State put us on a national level, got people talking about us. Whether it's a blog, baseball America or an interview, whatever it is, it gets people talking about Islanders baseball."
The season opens on Friday, Feb. 17, with a four-game series at Chapman Field. The first road contest of the season comes that following Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the Houston Cougars. Following the midweek game, the Islanders return home for the Kleberg Bank College Classic starting on Friday, Feb. 24, against UNLV. Games against Nebraska on Saturday and Utah on Sunday round out the tournament for the host team.
"We'll have Utah out of the Pac 12, UNLV and Nebraska, a definite big boy coming in here to showcase their skills in front of the city of Corpus Christi and baseball fans," said Malone. "I'm really proud of the schedule we've put together. It gives us as coaches and players a chance to show some of the top programs where we are, and hopefully how close we are to becoming one of the top seven or eight programs in the state."
The opening game of the classic will come against UNLV, a team that Malone was an assistant coach for before coming to Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.
"The UNLV one for me will be a good challenge for us on a couple of different levels. I did spend three years there prior to coming to Corpus Christi. The only regional I've been to as a coach was in a UNLV uniform, I was really proud of the things we did while I was there.
"It will be neat to play and be in the opposite dugout against those guys wearing UNLV jerseys."
A&M – Corpus Christi will then travel for its first weekend road series, against Dallas Baptist on March 1, playing three games against the Patriots. Following the afternoon finale on Saturday, March 3, the Islanders will travel a short distance to Arlington where they will take on UT Arlington that night in a rare day-night doubleheader against two different teams in two cities.
Returning home, the Islanders take on Houston – Victoria on March 6, at Chapman Field before traveling to Rice for their final pre-conference affair on March 7, at Reckling Park.
Other non-conference highlights include road games against Texas, Baylor and UTPA while hosting UTPA in the final non-conference game of the year on May 1.
In Southland Conference play, the Islanders will play host to UTSA, Southeastern Louisiana, defending Southland Conference Champion Texas State, Stephen F. Austin and McNeese State. The team plays road series' at Central Arkansas, Nicholls, Northwestern State, Sam Houston, Lamar and UT Arlington to round out the conference schedule.
"Chapman Field will continue to be an advantage for us," said Malone. "That'll be a huge part of where we finish in the Southland Conference race. It'll come down to how well we can play at home."
The Southland Conference Tournament will be hosted by Texas State this year and is scheduled to begin on May 23, in San Marcos.
The Islanders finished the 2011 season with a school-record 37 wins and a third-place finish in both the Southland Conference regular season standings and post-season tournament.
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