NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lipscomb’s 12th-year head baseball coach Jeff Forehand announced the 2018 schedule for the Diamond Bisons Friday morning.
The 55-game slate features 36 home contests at the friendly confines of Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium, where the Purple and Gold are 206-138 (.599) during Forehand’s tenure and have won at least 22 games in three of the last four seasons.
“We love playing at home and we feel our park is as good and nice as anywhere else in the country,” Forehand said. “We take pride in playing in front of our fans, so we like to schedule as many home games as we can.”
After opening at home against UNC Ashville (Feb. 16-18), the Bisons will travel to Knoxville (Feb. 20) for a midweek matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers. Lipscomb last faced the Vols in 2015 at LakePoint in Emerson, Georgia as UT scored all of its runs in the ninth inning to down the Bisons 6-0.
The Bisons will play 15 of their next 17 contests at home. The only road games are midweeks at Tennessee Tech (Feb. 27) and Belmont (March 12).
Highlighting the Bisons home nonconference schedule is back-to-back weekend series against Michigan (March 9-11) and UNC Greensboro (March 16-18) - both NCAA Tournament teams in 2017. The Wolverines will be making their way to Nashville for a second straight year invading Dugan Field as the No. 19 team in the land a season ago.
The last outings for Lipscomb before heading into league play is a key six-game stretch away from campus – the longest streak of the season. The Bisons will make their first-ever trip to West Lafayette, Indiana to take on Purdue (March 23-25) before returning to the city to face Vanderbilt (March 27).
The Bisons and Commodores will once again meet downtown at First Tennessee Park – home of the Triple-A Nashville Sounds.
“We like to schedule a Power-5 school each year, but this season we were lucky to get a few,” Forehand said. “Anytime you play top programs like Michigan, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Purdue, they help prepare us for the conference season.”
ASUN Conference play opens against NJIT (March 29-31) in Nashville. The Bisons also host Jacksonville (April 6-8) and USC Upstate (April 27-29) before concluding the regular season with defending ASUN Champion, Florida Gulf Coast (May 17-19).
Lipscomb will travel to Stetson (April 13-15), Kennesaw State (April 20-22) and North Florida (May 11-13).
“All conference weekends are crucial, but the stretch where we play Kennesaw State and Stetson back-to-back on the road will be tough,” Forehand said. “They both will be playing at the top of the conference and will have a lot of talent coming back. Those trips will tell us a lot about our season.”
The ASUN Tournament will be held May 23-26 in Jacksonville, Florida at UNF’s Harmon Stadium for the first time ever. The top six teams in the league standings advance to the championship.
- The Bisons will play 22 games before leaving the state of Tennessee. In fact they will only cross the state lines four times all season.
- Lipscomb’s two longest home stands are nine (Feb. 28- March 11) and eight (April 24-May 8) games.
- Southeastern Missouri (SEMO) visits Lipscomb May 4-6. That weekend will feature the Dugan Award presentation on Friday and Senior Day on Saturday.
- Lipscomb will open at home for the ninth consecutive season.
- The Mule Mix Classic will feature a lineup of Indiana State (Feb. 23), Kent State (Feb. 24) and Fairleigh Dickinson (Feb. 25).
- Old ASUN foe Northern Kentucky (March 1-4) will visit for the only four-game series of the season for Lipscomb. It will be the first time the teams have faced since May 2015 when Forehand earned his 450th career win as a head coach.
- Lipscomb will have home-and-home midweeks with five instate opponents: Tennessee Tech (Feb. 27 & March 6), Belmont (March 12, April 24), Middle Tennessee (March 20, April 17), UT Martin (Feb. 28 & April 3) and Austin Peay (April 10, May 8).
- With 19 road contests, Lipscomb will travel 4,706 miles this season with the longest distance being the 670-mile trip to Stetson.
BY THE NUMBERS
55 Total Games
36 Games at Dugan Field
21 ASUN Games
18 True Road Games
14 Games vs. Teams That Finished 2017 with Top-100 RPI
12 Games vs. 2017 NCAA Tournament Participants
8 Games against Power 5 opponents
3 Thursday Contests
1 Neutral Site Games