MARTIN, Tenn. – Twenty-five home dates highlight the University of Tennessee at Martin’s 2014 baseball schedule, which was released this afternoon.
Interim head coach Brad Goss takes over the reins of the Skyhawk program in 2014 after spending the last nine seasons as an assistant coach. UT Martin officially begins practice on Friday, Jan. 24 in anticipation of its season-opener three weeks later.
“We have a long road stretch early,” Goss said. “We will have played some tough competition before conference play starts and that will be valuable getting us ready for the Ohio Valley Conference season. We also have Eastern Michigan coming in here for the first time ever and a storied Missouri State program coming to Skyhawk Field for the first time since 1993.”
The Skyhawks open the 2014 campaign with a three-game set at Conference USA member UAB on Feb. 14-16. This marks the third time in the last six years that UT Martin has visited the Blazers for a weekend series.
UT Martin then travels to traditional Southeastern Conference powerhouse Ole Miss for the third time in the last four years before opening its home schedule with four games in five days. On Feb. 21-23, the Skyhawks will play Eastern Michigan out of the Mid-American Conference. That will follow by a Feb. 25 matchup with Missouri Valley Conference rival Southern Illinois, as the Skyhawks and Salukis will take part in a home-and-home series for the 10th consecutive season in 2014.
The most grueling part of UT Martin’s schedule then follows, as the Skyhawks will visit three states for eight games over a 10-day span. UT Martin will pay a visit to Nacogdoches, Texas to square off against Stephen F. Austin out of the Southland Conference on Feb. 28-March 2. The Skyhawks then travel to fellow Southland member Central Arkansas for a two-game midweek set on March 4-5, followed by the start of OVC play at Jacksonville State on March 7-9.
A three-game OVC homestand follows when UT Martin hosts Murray State on March 14-16. The Skyhawks travel to MVC member Evansville on March 18 before going to defending OVC regular season champion Tennessee Tech on March 21-23.
UT Martin returns home on March 25 to take on Victory University, a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association located in Memphis, Tenn. A three-game OVC home series against Southeast Missouri is slated to follow on March 28-30.
The Skyhawks’ next four games are on the road against in-state rivals Vanderbilt (54-12 record in 2013) out of the SEC and Belmont, who went 38-20 in its inaugural OVC season last year.
The first of two games against Lipscomb out of the Atlantic Sun Conference is set to take place at Skyhawk Field on April 8, followed by a home weekend series against OVC foe Eastern Kentucky.
Road matchups at Southern Illinois (April 15) and OVC rival Morehead State (April 17-19) take place before a season-long seven-game homestand from April 22-May 4. The Skyhawks host defending Atlantic-10 Conference champion Saint Louis (41-21 in 2013) to campus on April 22, followed by stepping out of conference for three-game set against Missouri State out of the MVC on April 25-27. UT Martin returns to OVC action when it hosts SIU Edwardsville to begin the month of May.
The schedule then calls for five straight road games against in-state rivals, beginning with the return game at Lipscomb on May 6. The final OVC road series of the season takes place at defending OVC Tournament champion Austin Peay (47-15 in 2013) before the Skyhawks play their last true road game of the season at Memphis out of the newly-formed American Athletic Conference on May 13.
UT Martin closes out the regular season at home against OVC foe Eastern Illinois on May 15-17. The 2014 OVC Tournament is once again being held at The Ballpark at Jackson, the home of Seattle Mariners’ Double-A affiliate Jackson Generals located just 55 miles away from the UT Martin campus.