INDIANAPOLIS - A season-opening trip to Fresno State, a revamped Horizon League schedule and home games against the top Midwest teams highlight Butler baseball's 2012 schedule. The regular season culminates at the six-team Horizon League Baseball Championship May 23-26 in Chicago.
The Bulldogs open the season with a four-game series at 2008 College World Series champ Fresno State Feb. 17-19. It is Butler's first trip to California. Following the trip to Fresno, Butler will take on UT-Martin and Belmont before the home opener Wednesday, March 7 vs. Dayton.
Now that the Horizon League has six schools that sponsor baseball, the conference has gone to a 30-game slate that features a three-game series home and away. The league schedule now calls for single games each Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which is what most leagues across the country are doing. In the past, the Horizon League schedule has called for doubleheaders on Saturdays and no games on Sundays.
"We are excited for the opportunity to go to California and play a nationally-ranked opponent in Fresno State," head coach Steve Farley. "This will be the first time the Horizon League has gone to a 30-game, double round-robin schedule. Our league coaches like the idea of a three-game series every weekend.
In addition to hosting Dayton in the home opener, Butler will welcome Cincinnati, Ball State, Xavier and Indiana State to Bulldog Park for mid-week games. Also on the schedule are games at Notre Dame, Purdue and Western Kentucky.
"Our players always enjoy the challenge of taking on the best programs in our home state," Farley said.
Butler returns five starting position players and 10 pitchers from last year's team that won 23 games. The Bulldogs, who also will add a handful of Division I transfers this season, also posted a winning record at home for the second straight season.