Shortly after I posted yesterday’s blog regarding college baseball schedules, the Clemson Tigers joined the party by releasing their 2018 slate. For the second straight year, head coach Monte Lee is not shy about bringing tough competition to Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
The Tigers will open the slate on February 16 by hosting William & Mary, a team that is coming off a 32-25 record this past spring and went 2-2 in the Charlottesville Regional in 2016. The following weekend, on February 23-25, Clemson will host Dallas Baptist. The Patriots have become a perennial power under head coach Dan Heefner. In 2017 the Patriots went 42-21 and advanced to the finals of the Fort Worth Regional before falling to TCU. That series is without question one of the premier early-season marquee matchups in college baseball.
On April 10, Clemson plays Georgia in the first of two games against the Bulldogs. That game will be played at SRP Park in North Augusta, S.C., home of the Augusta GreenJackets. It will be the inaugural baseball event at the brand-new stadium.
In yesterday’s blog I overlooked a couple of schools that have also released their 2018 schedules. You can see them by clicking on the links:
Texas State’s schedule is an eye-opener. Head coach Ty Harrington’s team will not only face such tough Sun Belt Conference opponents as Louisiana-Lafayette (May 11-13), South Alabama (April 20-22) and Coastal Carolina (March 23-25), the Bobcats also play three mid-week games against Texas (including one at home), home-and-home midweek matchups with Rice, and single contests against Texas A&M and Baylor. Oh yeah, Texas State also opens the season on February 16 with a three-game series at home against Oklahoma State.
Here are some other interesting notes regarding the upcoming 2018 schedules:
* Ohio State’s shortest trip during its early non-conference slate is 580 miles, to Coastal Carolina on March 9-11. The Buckeyes’ longest scheduled journey from Columbus is the 1,927-mile trek to Surprise, Arizona, to face Utah and Oregon State on February 22-25. Ohio State’s first home game will be March 16 against Cal State Northridge.
* Illinois will face six opponents for the first time in the Fighting Illini program history–Texas Southern (February 17), VCU (February 25), Arizona (March 3), Presbyterian (March 9), Cal State Northridge (March 21) and Grand Canyon (April 20-22).
* James Madison will host series over the course of six consecutive weekends–Fordham (March 2-4), St. Bonaventure (March 9-11), UMass Lowell (March 16-18), Elon (March 23-25), and Northeastern (March 30-April 1).
* After winning a pair of three-game series against nationally ranked Miami and Central Florida last year, Dartmouth will open its season by heading to Atlanta to face perennial ACC contender Georgia Tech (Feb. 23-25). The Big Green are 3-3 all-time against the Yellow Jackets, but this series will mark the first games between the programs in 93 years.
* The Ivy League is going with a new 21-game format. For the past 25 years, the conference was split into two divisions–the Rolfe (Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale) and the Gehrig (Columbia, Cornell, Penn and Princeton). Each team would play one doubleheader against opponents from the other division and two twinbills versus those within their division for a total of 20 games. The winner of each division would then meet in a best-of-three Ivy League Championship Series. Starting this spring, the division format has been removed. Every team will play a three-game series against each league member, for a total of 21 contests. The teams with the two best records will meet in the Ivy League Championship Series, hosted by the school owning the better mark.
* Although Louisville has yet to announce its 2018 schedule, the Cardinals will charge for tickets for all games for the first time at Jim Patterson Stadium. The school announced:
“With the Cardinals emergence as one of the nation’s elite programs in recent years, the crowds at Jim Patterson Stadium have reached new levels creating a tremendous demand for reserved seating at the corner of Third and Central. To accommodate those demands, a variety of season ticket plans with significantly discounted per game pricing will be offered for the 2018 season providing fans with numerous cost-effective options…
“Single game tickets for the 2018 season will be priced at $10 for reserved chairback and $5 for berm and will be available for purchase at a later date. Additionally, details on the Cards Pass Flex Plan will also be announced at a later date.”
Here is an article from the Louisville Courier-Journal speaking with Cardinal head coach Dan McDonnell about charging admission to game: