EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE baseball has announced its 2019 schedule. The Cougars will play 25 home games, face a pair of Southeastern Conference opponents and five Missouri Valley Conference opponents in addition to its Ohio Valley Conference slate of 30 games.
The 25 home contests are the most for SIUE since the 2012.
"It's a great opportunity to play a number of games at home," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "To be in front of our own fans and our crowd is huge. We'll take advantage of the turf surface to play games early in March."
The Cougars will spend the first two weekends away from home, playing road series at UAB (Feb. 15-17) and Louisiana-Monroe (Feb. 22-24).
"Obviously early on we're going to travel south to chase the warmer weather," Lyons added. "It's two good tests early on that should get us ready before we head home."
The home season begins with a nonconference series against UIC (Mar. 1-3). OVC play begins the following weekend at Tennessee Tech (Mar. 8-10). SIUE will play Kentucky, of the SEC in a single game (Mar. 12). The Cougars have never faced the Wildcats in baseball. Kentucky will debut a new baseball stadium in 2019, and SIUE will be one of the first regular season opponents.
"The stop in Lexington is nice because it is on our spring break," Lyons said.
The Cougars will play other midweek road games at SIU Carbondale (Mar. 19), Evansville (Mar. 27), Bradley (Apr. 3), Western Illinois (Apr. 23), Saint Louis (Apr. 30) and Illinois State (May 14).
SIUE will play host to Illinois State (Mar. 13) and Saint Louis (Mar. 26) before welcoming Missouri to Simmons Baseball Complex (Mar. 9). The Cougars and Tigers have met five times since SIUE made the move to Division I play, but the game has never been played in Edwardsville.
"The ability to play another SEC opponent here at home should hopefully bring some fans and some students out to the ballpark," Lyons added.
The Cougars' final midweek home contest is Western Illinois (Apr. 16).
"It's great preparation for us," Lyons said of his team's midweek games. "Our guys enjoy playing a competitive schedule."
Weekend home series in OVC play features Southeast Missouri (Mar. 15-17), Eastern Kentucky (Mar. 29-31), UT Martin (Apr. 12-14), Eastern Illinois (May 3-5) and Murray State (May 16-18).
The road OVC series will be played at Belmont (Mar. 22-24), Morehead State (Apr. 5-7), Austin Peay (Apr. 26-28) and Jacksonville State (May 10-12).
"It's an exciting time for the OVC with two teams qualifying for the NCAAs last year," Lyons said. "It just means the competition is that much harder week in and week out. The league is getting better from top to bottom."
The OVC Championship will be played in Marion, Illinois, at Rent One Park May 21-26.
"With the tournament being over in Marion it would make it even more special for us," Lyons said. "It being so close presents a great opportunity for our guys."
SIUE is in its final week of fall practice. The Cougars will play their annual "Red and Black World Series" Wednesday at 4 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. and Wednesday Oct. 17 at 4 p.m.