Baseball Releases 2014 ScheduleOctober 23, 2013
ANDERSON, S.C. – Highlighted by five home South Atlantic Conference series, Anderson University baseball head coach Joe Miller announced his 2014 baseball schedule, which is slated to begin with the home opener on Feb. 1.
The Trojans are set to return seven seniors to their roster from a season ago, headlined by Josh Hickman and Paul Como who each hit over .300 a season ago and combined for 57 runs. Anderson also returns sophomore Steven Cooper who led the team with a .309 batting average. Juniors Spencer Earle and JT Trujillo, who combined for 20 starts on the mound, also return to the AU roster, while junior Landon Beck led the team out of the bullpen with eight saves.
For the third consecutive season, the Trojans begin their season with UNC Pembroke on Feb. 1-2 at Anderson Memorial Stadium. Last season, AU suffered a three-game sweep to the Braves who eventually just missed the NCAA Tournament with a 38-16 overall record.
After the UNCP series, the Trojans begin their chase to their Beville Cup point with archrival Erskine on Feb. 4. The matchup will begin a three-game set that will stretch with the Flying Fleet throughout the season.
With a potential four games under its belt, AU begins SAC play with a road series with Mars Hill on Feb. 7-8. With the addition of Coker to the league, conference play has been forced to begin a week earlier as Anderson begins its SAC schedule with MHU for the first time since joining the league in 2010.
Following its first conference series, AU will play a home-and-home two-game series with North Greenville on Feb. 11-12, beginning in Anderson. Last season, the Trojans took two games from the Crusaders with a 7-4 win in Tigerville and a 10-1 rout at Memorial Stadium.
Anderson jumps back into conference action with its first home SAC series against Carson-Newman on Feb. 14-15. The Trojans look to repeat their series win from last season, as AU took two-of-three from the Eagles, as each victory was decided by two or fewer runs.
With a potential six conference games completed, Anderson begins a non-conference stretch from Feb. 18-25 that begins with a road trip to GRU-Augusta, followed by a home game with schedule newcomer Nova Southeastern of the Sunshine State Conference.
“We’ve never had Nova Southeastern on the schedule and it worked out because we needed that extra game,” Miller said. “They may come in here and be nationally ranked.”
The non-conference stretch continues with a weekend series at North Georgia on Feb. 21-23. North Georgia, who captured two mid-week games from AU a season ago, finished the 2013 year with an 18-29 overall record.
Following their second matchup of the season with Erskine, conference play returns with a key home series with SAC newcomer Coker on Feb. 28-March 1. Coker, which had one of its most successful seasons in school history, won the Conference Carolinas regular season and conference championships in its final year in the conference. The Cobras eventually won the Southeast Regional and advanced to the NCAA Division II College World Series.
“With Coker advancing to the World Series last season, we’re excited to square off against them this season,” Miller said. “Any time you get to compete against a team that advanced to the World Series in the previous year, it gives your players a motivation.”
After a mid-week matchup with non-conference Southern Wesleyan, AU hits the road for back-to-back conference series with Wingate on March 7-8 and Catawba College, March 14-15. Catawba and Wingate finished first and second, respectively, in the SAC a season ago and the teams combined for 41 league wins.
“This is probably the week I have the most concern for because this is also our spring break,” Miller said. “For the last few years, Catawba and Wingate have been the top teams in our conference and to play both of them on the road is tough, but we have to play them all. We hope to be playing well when we go in there.”
With their final meeting with GRU-Augusta on March 18 in Anderson, the Trojans remain home to face Tusculum for a three-game set. The Pioneers finished the season 16-11 in SAC play and a third place finish in the SAC regular season standings.
Anderson returns to its non-conference schedule with back-to-back mid-week road matchups with North Greenville on March 25 and USC Aiken on March 26. While remaining on the road, AU heads to league foe Brevard on March 28-29.
The Trojans bring in the month of April with their final meeting with Erskine as they look to earn baseball’s Beville Cup point. Last season, Anderson took two of three from the Fleet, highlighted by a 6-3 home victory in early April.
“I played for Coach Beville and he’s a great friend so this Cup means probably more to me than most people,” Miller said. “Erskine is a team we recruit against a lot and when we play them, a lot of the players know each other, so these three games have been marked on my schedule.”
With the EC match beginning a five-game home swing, the Black and Gold host Lenoir-Rhyne on April 4-5, as AU seeks to avenge a series sweep at the hands of the Bears a season ago. Anderson closes the home swing with a non-conference meeting with Lander on April 8.
A three-game road stretch closes AU’s road schedule, as the Trojans begin their road trip at last season’s conference tournament champion, Lincoln Memorial, on April 11-12. In Anderson’s last trip to Harrogate, Tenn., the Trojans captured the series opener, 11-2, but eventually dropped two heartbreaking losses to the Railsplitters by just one run in each contest.
After its last road game of the season at Lander on April 16, the Trojans host their final SAC series of the season against Newberry on April 18-19. Southern Wesleyan closes the regular season on April 21 at Memorial Stadium.
The 2014 Food Lion SAC Championship is set for April 24-27 in Forest City, N.C. at McNair Field.