Photo by Ryan Daniels
The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars are scheduled to play 53 regular season games, including 20 games at Simmons Baseball Complex.
EDWARDSVILLE — SIUE baseball Head Coach Tony Stoecklin has announced the Cougars’ schedule for the 2015 season.
The Cougars are scheduled to play 53 regular season games, including 20 games at Simmons Baseball Complex.
The season begins Feb. 13 with a first-ever meeting between SIUE and Notre Dame. The Cougars will meet the Fighting Irish in Norman, Okla., before finishing the weekend with a pair of games against the Oklahoma Sooners. SIUE travels to Oral Roberts Feb. 20-22 to take on the Golden Eagles, who finished with 30 wins a season ago.
The Cougars will play host to Saint Louis Feb. 25 before heading back on the road to face Arkansas-Little Rock Feb. 27-Mar. 1.
“We’ll start the year off playing strong competition and challenging ourselves,” Stoecklin said. “I think being ‘battle-tested’ at the beginning of the year (last season) really helped us push through some difficult times in the middle of the Ohio Valley Conference season. We rebounded during the last three weekends and played well. A lot of that can be attributed to our nonconference schedule.”
SIUE opens OVC play with a road series against defending tournament champions Jacksonville State Mar. 6-8.
The Cougars will travel to Missouri for a date with the Tigers, of the Southeastern Conference, March 11. SIUE and Mizzou have not played since 2011, a 7-2 Cougar win in Columbia, Mo.
The OVC home season begins with Murray State (March 13-15). The Cougars also have home OVC series with last season’s regular season champion Southeast Missouri (March 27-29), Eastern Kentucky (April 10-12), UT Martin (April 24-26), and Eastern Illinois (May 14-16).
SIUE will play road OVC series at Tennessee Tech (March 20-22), Belmont (April 2-4), Morehead State (April 17-19), and Austin Peay (May 8-10).
“This is an outstanding baseball conference,” Stoecklin said of the OVC. “There isn’t much that separates the top teams from the bottom teams. I don’t think you focus on where you are playing somebody. The goal is to prepare your team to play regardless of where you are playing.”
SIUE finished 16-14 in OVC play in 2014, securing the No. 4 seed in the school’s first appearance in the OVC Tournament.
“That was a good accomplishment for last year’s team,” Stoecklin said of making the tournament. “Just getting into the tournament is not the goal for this team. Our goal is to finish at the top of the conference.”
This year’s championship will take place May 20-24 in Jackson, Tenn.
Other highlights of the Cougars’ 2015 schedule include single games with Evansville, Indiana State, and Western Illinois. SIUE will travel to Illinois State for a four-game series during their OVC bye weekend May 1-3.
“There’s a lot of good Division I baseball being played in the Midwest,” Stoecklin said. “The Missouri Valley schools are always good. Saint Louis has been at the top of the Atlantic 10 Conference for the last several years.”