Feb. 10, 2014
ALLENDALE, Mich. - The Grand Valley State baseball team, fresh off its sixth Division II Baseball National Finals appearance in school history, have finalized the schedule for the 2014 season.
The Lakers will have to get out of the gates quickly, as GVSU faces one of the toughest early-season schedules in the country.
Nine of GVSU's first 12 games of the season are against teams ranked or receiving votes in the American Baseball Coaches Association/Baseball News pre-season poll.
The Lakers will begin the year with a three-game set in Evansville, Ind. against Southern Indiana, February 21st-23rd. USI is receiving votes in the pre-season ABCA/Baseball News poll and was tabbed No. 5 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Midwest Regional pre-season poll.
Following that early series, the team will head on spring break to Florida for their annual trip. On the first two days of the trip, GVSU will take on Lewis in a pair of nine-inning contests, on March 3rd and 4th. Lewis is ranked 30th in the pre-season ABCA/Baseball News poll, 20th in the College Baseball Lineup rankings and No. 6 in the NCBWA Midwest Regional pre-season poll.
After a true away game at Florida Southern on March 5th, GVSU will take on Missouri-St. Louis in a single nine-inning contest on March 6th. The Tritons are No. 38 in the pre-season ABCA/Baseball News poll.
Following a day off, the Lakers will take on Seton Hill in a big doubleheader on March 8th. The Griffons feature a pre-season All-American and are ranked in every pre-season publication. Seton Hill is ranked sixth in the College Baseball Lineup rankings, No. 14 in the D2BaseballNews.com rankings, No. 22 in the ABCA/Baseball News poll, No. 23 in the NCBWA National Poll and No. 3 in the NCBWA Atlantic Regional pre-season poll.
The next day (Mar. 9th) will feature a doubleheader against Upper Iowa, before the final day of the Florida trip which will turn out to be GVSU's toughest competition.
March 10th will feature a pair of nine-inning games, the first coming against Minnesota State-Mankato, the national runner-up from a year ago. This season, the Mavericks are ranked in the top two of every publication. Minnesota State is ranked No. 2 in the College Baseball Lineup rankings, D2BaseballNews.com rankings, ABCA/Baseball News poll, NCBWA poll and was picked to finish No. 1 in the NCBWA Central Regional pre-season poll. That day will wrap up with a nine-inning game against Winona State.
From there, the Lakers will head to the Trevecca Nazarene Baseball Classic, where GVSU will face Mercyhurst, a team receiving votes in the pre-season ABCA/Baseball News poll and picked to finish 10th in the NCBWA Atlantic Regional pre-season poll, and host school Trevecca Nazarene in Nashville, Tenn. on March 15th. The next day, GVSU will finish up the trip with a nine-inning contest against Bloomsburg.
All told, the Lakers' non-conference opponents this year combined for a 315-220 record last season with three NCAA regional participants (Lewis, Seton Hill, Minnesota State), a regional champion and Division II Baseball National Finals Runner-Up (Minnesota State), and an Atlantic Regional Championship Game participant (Seton Hill). Trevecca Nazarene, a provisional Division II member, won the G-MAC tournament championship and played in the NCCAA Mid-East Regional Championship Game last season. The Florida trip participants combined to go 230-151 last season, while the Trevecca Baseball Classic participants went 85-69.
The Lakers will then get in to GLIAC conference play, where GVSU will have three games each against Hillsdale (3/19 home (DH), 3/26 away), Wayne State (3/22-23 home), Northwood (3/25 away, 4/30 home (DH)), Ashland (3/29-30 away), Tiffin (3/31-4/1 away), Ohio Dominican (4/5-6 home), Saginaw Valley State (4/9 home (DH), 4/16 away), Walsh (4/12-13 away), Lake Erie (4/18-19 away), Findlay (4/26-27 home) and Malone (5/3-4 home). Each series against GLIAC opponents will consist of seven-inning doubleheaders on one day and a single nine-inning game on the other date.
Ashland is ranked 31st in the pre-season ABCA/Baseball News poll, is receiving votes in the NCBWA national poll and was picked No. 4 in the NCBWA Midwest Regional pre-season poll. Wayne State is receiving votes in the ABCA/Baseball News poll and was picked No. 8 in the NCBWA Midwest Regional pre-season poll.
GVSU earned the No. 5 national ranking from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, landed at No. 6 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and D2BaseballNews.com rankings, and is No. 7 in the College Baseball Lineup rankings.
The Lakers were also named the Midwest Region pre-season favorite by the NCBWA.