EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE baseball coach Tony Stoecklin has announced his team's 2014 schedule. The Cougars will play 55 regular season games, including 22 home dates at Simmons Baseball Complex.
"Overall we have a very competitive schedule," Stoecklin said. "The first two weekends will be tough."
SIUE will play 13 of its first 15 games away from Edwardsville. The slate opens with a three-game series at defending Missouri Valley Conference regular season champion Wichita State Feb. 14-16. The Cougars then travel to New Mexico State for a four-game series with the Aggies.
"I believe in challenging yourself early," Stoecklin added. "I think it is beneficial for the team."
SIUE opens the home season Feb. 26 with a mid-week game against Indiana State before heading back on the road for a trip to Georgia Southern where SIUE also will meet Ohio.
The Cougars welcome Illinois State for a mid-week game Mar. 4 before traveling to Charleston, Ill., to open Ohio Valley Conference play Mar. 7-9 at Eastern Illinois.
During OVC play, the Cougars will play host to each of the top four teams in last season's conference standings. All four of the teams won at least 20 games last season. Jacksonville State, in town for the first home conference weekend, comes to Simmons Complex Mar. 14-16. Regular season champion Tennessee Tech is in Edwardsville Mar. 28-30. Belmont, which finished third in the OVC last season, will come to town Apr. 11-13. The Cougars welcome Morehead State, which tied SIUE last season with 10 conference wins, Apr. 25-27. Two-time defending OVC Tournament champion, and NCAA participant Austin Peay concludes SIUE's schedule May 15-17.
The Cougars travel for OVC series at Murray State (Mar. 21-23), Southeast Missouri (Apr. 4-6), Eastern Kentucky (Apr. 17-19), and UT Martin (May 2-5).
"You have to be a solid team to crack the top six (in the OVC) and get into the conference tournament," Stoecklin said. "The expectation of our program is to be in the OVC Tournament."
The Cougars will travel to Chicago to take on Northwestern during the conference bye week May 9-11.
"It is not an easy bye week," Stoecklin said. "You want to challenge yourself for league play. It also gives our Chicago guys a chance to play in front of family and friends."
The OVC Tournament takes place in Jackson, Tenn., from May 21-25. The winner receives the OVC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.