Baseball practice begins next week, which means Opening Day is just around the corner.
Eastern Mennonite University released its 2012 schedule today, with the season opening with a doubleheader at North Carolina Wesleyan on February 11. The Royals then return to Harrisonburg three days later for a home opener against Mary Washington on February 14.
There are 16 home contests on the 40-game slate, including four doubleheaders. Home highlights include ODAC regular season champ Bridgewater on April 3 and Shenandoah on February 22. The Hornets were ranked No. 1 in the nation for a few weeks last spring and finished No. 8 in the final poll. SU will host a game on April 9 in Winchester.
EMU will play three games against Southern Vermont over February 25-26. The Royals also have a six-game homestand from March 10-17, including a pair of conference twinbills. Washington & Lee comes to town on April 18 for the final home game.
Randolph-Macon, winners of the ODAC Tournament, hosts the men on March 3. Virginia Wesleyan hosts a doubleheader on April 21 to wrap up the regular season.
All ODAC games will be nine-inning affairs. The conference tournament is April 26-29 in Lynchburg.
The team will also make a trip to Florida over Spring Break, playing five games at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational in Winter Haven from March 5-7.
Eastern Mennonite returns 17 players from an 11-25 season, including All-ODAC performers Dylan Smith (Sterling, VA/Park View) and Beau Banglesdorf (Stafford, VA/Mountain View). The Royals upset then-unbeaten and No. 1 Shenandoah during the season, but finished 4-14 in the ODAC and missed the six-team conference tourney.
Jason Stuhlmiller, an assistant last spring, is the interim head coach this year.
Write-up courtesy of EMU Sports Information Department.