BUFFALO, NY - The 2012 Buffalo Bulls baseball schedule was released with a slate that sees the young Bulls squad traveling for the first 17 games of the season and two new opponents featured on the schedule. It also includes 11 games against Big Four rivals and road dates against members of the Big East, SEC and Atlantic 10.
The season kicks off Feb. 24 at Cliff Hagan Stadium when Buffalo faces Kentucky. The Wildcats return its top pitcher and three of its top four hitters from 2011, when it finished 25-30 overall. After a three-game series, the team will head an hour to the east for four games against Morehead State. The Eagles are led by third baseman Andrew Deeds, who batted .380 with 49 runs batted in and 29 extra-base hits.
A weekend series against Coppin State and Long Island will take up the weekend of Mar. 10. On Saturday, the Bulls take on the host Eagles, before facing the Long Island Blackbirds. The game against LIU will feature a matchup of two of the top mid-major catching prospects in the country, as Tom Murphy will square off against senior Tyler Jones. After posting a batting average of .425 and starting in all 51 of the team's games, Jones was named to the All-Northeast Conference First Team and American Baseball Coaches Association All-Region First Team.
The team will have its first mid-week games starting on Mar. 13, with single games on back-to-back days against Towson and UMBC. Towson finished 26-28-1 last season while the UMBC Retrievers went 10-37. That weekend, the Bulls head to the City of Brotherly Love for three games against the Big Five at Villanova Ballpark. UB starts against LaSalle on Friday, taking on an Explorers team that has a solid starting rotation and a squad that finished 2011 with 28 wins. The following day, the team will take on another Atlantic 10 foe in the Saint Joseph's Hawks. The Hawks have a pitching staff that posted a 4.44 team earned run average and junior infielder Greg Kumpel, who batted .384 with 32 runs batted in. Finally, on Sunday, Buffalo will face host Villanova on Sunday in a tough test against a quality Big East foe.
Now with the major portion of the non-conference season behind it, UB will being Mid-American Conference slate with three games against Central Michigan starting March 23. The Chippewas won the West Division last season with a 17-9 conference mark and return top hitter Tyler Hall and a pitching staff that had a sub-4.00 team ERA last season. The following Wednesday, UB opens Big 4 action with a game at Canisius before coming to Amherst Audubon for the home opener.
Buffalo open's its home schedule in a big way, with nine home games in 20 days starting with Western Michigan on the weekend of March 30. Then on the following Tueday, it travels down for a doubleheader against St. Bonaventure before facing the 2011 MAC regular season and tournament champion Kent State. The Golden Flashes finished last season with a #26 ranking nationally and a spot in the NCAA regional final for the second time ever. There will then be a six-games-in-seven-days stretch where the Bulls face Canisius (April 10, April 18) and Niagara (April 17) at home along with a weekend series against Akron (April 13-15).
After traveling to Ohio to face the Bobcats on the weekend of April 20, the Bulls will face Miami at home on April 27-29 before taking its final road trip of the regular season with two games at Niagara and three games at Toledo (May 4-6). The Bulls will close out the season with some home cooking, with eight straight home games. Eastern Michigan (May 11-13) and Bowling Green (May 17-19) will end the conference schedule, with a final doubleheader against the Bonnies on May 15 also thrown in. The conference's postseason tournament will begin May 23. For more information on first-pitch times, check BuffaloBulls.com for updates as the season goes along.