Dec. 4, 2007
The Lipscomb University baseball team has released its 2008 baseball schedule, which is highlighted by a total of 16 games against teams that competed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
Lipscomb opens the season on Feb. 22 against Southern Miss when the Bisons go on the road to Hattiesburg, Miss., for a three-game series beginning Friday at 4 p.m.
Other non-conference highlights include a home and home series against archrival Vanderbilt (March 19 at Vandy, and April 15 at Dugan Field), two games against instate rivals Austin Peay (March 11 in Clarksville, May 5 in Nashville), MTSU (April 1 at Dugan Field, and April 8 in Murfreesboro), Tennessee-Martin (April 2 at Martin and April 9 at Dugan Field) and a weekend series against Big South powerhouse Winthrop (May 2-4 in Rock Hills, SC) as well a single game with SEC power Alabama (April 22 in Tuscaloosa) and home date with the University of Tennessee for the first time since 1984 on March 18.
"As always our non-conference schedule is very good because there are so many good baseball teams just in our state alone," assistant coach Brian Ryman said. "We have Vanderbilt, Tennessee, MTSU and UT-Martin in addition to Austin Peay, which is back on our schedule this year. All of us recruit very hard in state, and we look forward to playing each other every season.
"The non-conference schedule starts tough, not only with our in-state teams, but with Southern Miss, which was a NCAA Tournament team last season. We also have Vanderbilt on the schedule, which is always in the Top 10 in the NCAA each year, and you can't overlook Winthrop, which has become a mid-major power."
The non-conference schedule is always challenging, but the Atlantic Sun Conference is consistently one of the tougher leagues in the country.
"Our non-conference schedule is extremely difficult, and when you combine that with the way the Atlantic Sun Conference has been the last couple of years it's going to make for a very challenging schedule," Ryman asid. "Over the last two years, our league has not only been loaded with good teams, but with many professional players.
"If you look at the preseason draft projections alone, Stetson has three guys I think could go in the draft, Jacksonville has a ton of young talent, Mercer returns several players, Belmont is still very good, and Kennesaw St. returns the top pitcher in the country. So our league will be as good as it's always been. You even have teams that have been down but are getting a lot better and it makes for a tough conference week-in and week-out."
After Jacksonville, Lipscomb will host Gardner-Webb (Mar. 21-23), Kennesaw St. (March 28-29), Florida Gulf Coast (Apr. 11-12), and ETSU (April 25-27) before concluding their home schedule with a three-game series against the Mercer Bears May 8-9.
"We have a very good home schedule, starting with Jacksonville and Gardner-Webb early and continuing through Kennesaw, Gulf Coast, and Mercer in May," Ryman said. "We haven't seen these teams at home in over two years, but they all have NCAA Tournament potential and are coming in here at the end of April before we get ETSU, which is a natural in state rivalry for us.
"Overall, it's going to be a great home slate, and one of the things that we have to be prepared for is to play very well at home."
The Bisons will travel to in city rival Belmont for the "Battle of the Boulevard" (Feb. 29- Mar. 3), North Florida (Mar.8-9) and Stetson (Apr. 4-6) in addition to USC-Upstate and Campbell University to end the A-Sun. The Atlantic Coast Conference tournament will begin May 21 at Stetson University in Deland, Fla., while NCAA play starts May 30 on campus sites.