NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lipscomb head baseball coach Jeff Forehand announced Tuesday the Bisons’ 2015 schedule, highlighted by four NCAA postseason teams, two of which will travel to Music City.
Lipscomb’s 15th season as a member of Division I will feature 55 total games, including 32 on the diamond inside Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium.
“It is a challenging schedule for us, but as always we are very excited about it,” Forehand said. “We have seven weekends available during our preconference slate and we were able to find some teams who wanted to get into a warmer climate, giving us a chance to play six of those at home and that is very good for us.
“I hope that is how the trend for our scheduling continues in the future. We are obviously looking forward to playing at home a lot.”
Anchoring the challenging 2015 slate will be three matchups against teams from the Southeastern Conference as well as 16 games against teams that finished inside the top 100 of the 2014 RPI standings.
The Purple and Gold open the season with a three-game set against Butler on Friday Feb. 13 at 4 p.m. before traveling to Murfreesboro to take on Middle Tennessee (Feb. 17) in their first road game of the season.
As part of the annual “Mule Mix Classic”, Lipscomb will host Western Illinois (Feb. 20), Valparaiso (Feb. 21) and Ohio (Feb. 22) in the round-robin event co-hosted with Belmont and Middle Tennessee.
“The Mule Mix Classic is something we have done for many years,” Forehand said. “The uniqueness of us hosting three teams over a weekend provides a neat opportunity because you would normally play one team three different times.
“It also gives us a chance to play some teams that we typically would not get to play and it gives those teams a chance to come in and see what Nashville has to offer. I just hope we have some good weather that weekend.”
In their first marquee matchup of the season the Bisons will travel to Knoxville to face in-state SEC foe Tennessee on Feb. 24 with a 3 p.m. first pitch. It will be the first meeting between the two teams since 2011.
After hosting LaSalle (Feb. 28-Mar. 1) and Tennessee Tech (Mar. 3), Lipscomb must then travel to Mobile for its first three-game road series of the season to take on Alabama March 6-8. The Crimson Tide will represent the first of four NCAA postseason foes for the Bisons.
The Bisons will then play 10 of their next 12 contests at home hosting Quinnipiac (Mar. 13-15), Xavier (Mar. 20-22), Belmont (Mar. 24) and Georgetown (Mar. 27-29) with a couple of midweek treks to Tennessee Tech (Mar. 10) and Western Kentucky (Mar. 17) squeezed in between.
The longest road swing of the season then awaits Lipscomb with a midweek game at Belmont (Mar. 31) before the first conference series of 2015 to take on Jacksonville in a Thursday, Friday, Saturday set over Easter weekend (April 2-4).
Perhaps the biggest road test of the year comes April 7 when the Bisons venture to Hawkins Field to face Vanderbilt, the reigning national champion.
“Everyone knows the success of Vanderbilt and the quality of their coaches and players,” Forehand said. “Every year we play them it provides a great opportunity to knock off an SEC team, but even more so this year because they are the reigning national champions and they are right here in town. When you are on top everybody is gunning for you.
“I felt when we played them last year they were a World Series team and they showed everyone just how good they really were. And this season they are going to be every bit as good as last year.”
The Purple and Gold will host two A-Sun series during the month of April with North Florida coming to Nashville on April 10-12 followed by 2014 super regional qualifier Kennesaw State April 24-26.
“Kennesaw State had such a great run last year,” Forehand said. “Anytime we can play them at home you would think it gives us a better chance of winning, but they are still going to be a really, really good team again this season.
“But it’s not only Kennesaw that is going to be tough, it’s everybody in our league. All of the coaches in the A-Sun are great friends and we each know how hard the others work. Every team will be prepared and I can’t pick one over another that will be the toughest. All I can hope for is that we will have some very competitive games come conference time.”
In the first meeting since 2010, Lipscomb will travel to Murray State on April 14 before venturing to Spartanburg, South Carolina for the second straight season to face the Spartans of USC Upstate (April 17-19) in an important A-Sun road series.
The diamond Bisons will then entertain Middle Tennessee (April 28) in a midweek tilt to close the month of April.
Lipscomb and Austin Peay will split a pair of home and home contests with the Bisons making the trek to Clarksville on April 21 and the Governors making a return trip May 12.
A key A-Sun road series with the reigning league champion Florida Gulf Coast will open the month of May (1-3) for the Bisons, followed by a home game against Western Kentucky (May 5).
In its final two conference series of the season Lipscomb will host Stetson (May 8-10) on senior weekend before closing the regular season with a three-game set at Northern Kentucky on May 14-16.
The 2015 A-Sun Baseball Championship will be in Fort Myers, Florida for the second consecutive season from May 20-24.
Tickets will go on sale soon, so for more information on purchasing general admission and season tickets to Lipscomb baseball, fans can visit LipscombSports.com or call the Lipscomb ticket office at 615-966-HERD (4373).