Friday, January 20, 2017

Musing on 2017 S.C. college baseball schedules

Barring some late changes, the 2017 schedules for 30 of the state's 31 college baseball teams are in the calendar listed below.  Morris is the only school I'm missing.

Here are some of the things I've noticed during schedule entry:

* The move from the Big South Conference to the Sun Belt has cost defending national champion Coastal Carolina some dates against other South Carolina schools. The Chanticleers have just six games scheduled against in-state NCAA Division I teams -- three with College of Charleston and one each with Clemson, The Citadel and Winthrop. South Carolina, like Coastal a preseason Top-25 team, and former Big-South foes Charleston Southern and Presbyterian are not on the Chanticleers' schedule.

* College of Charleston also plays just four other state schools, but have a 10-game total. The Cougars, who bolted the Southern Conference for the Colonial Athletic Association a few years back, have a total of 10 games against in-state teams -- three apiece against Coastal Carolina and The Citadel and two apiece with Charleston Southern and Clemson.

* Charleston Southern, South Carolina, The Citadel and Wofford play eight of the other 10 NCAA Division I programs in the state. Clemson, Presbyterian and Winthrop play seven others, Furman plays six others and USC Upstate plays five others.

* The Citadel has the most games scheduled against other state schools -- 17. Wofford plays 16 while Charleston Southern, Furman and Presbyterian play 15.

* Among NCAA Division II and NAIA teams, North Greenville plays the most other in-state schools -- nine of 15 -- and Erskine plays the most games vs. in-state schools -- 19.

* For the first time since 2010 Clemson won't make a visit to Western Carolina. Former Clemson coach Jack Leggett  frequently rewarded one of his former head coaching stops with a visit.

* For the second straight season South Carolina and North Carolina will meet at BB&T Ballpark in downtown Charlotte. The Tar Heels rolled last season, 15-0.

 * Every DI team wants to make it Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park, home of the College World Series. Winthrop will do it this year. The Eagles have a three-game series against Creighton, which plays its home games at TD Ameritrade Park. The Creighton campus is just a few blocks away. A tip to the Eagles traveling party: lots of good restaurants in the Old Market area of downtown Omaha.

* There are several neutral-site games scheduled for The Ripen Experience in Myrtle Beach, Lexington County Ballpark and Fluor Field in downtown Greenville. Fluor Field is adding some seats atop the mini-Green Monster in left field.

* Guilford Tech and Pitt community colleges in North Carolina have dropped from Division I to Division II of NJCAA Region 10 baseball. That leaves six schools, with Louisburg being the only one not in South Carolina. Others are Florence-Darlington Tech, Spartanburg Methodist, USC Lancaster, USC Salkehatchie and USC Sumter. Since all eight teams have qualified for the region tournament in the past, there will have to be some scheduling revisions. I don't know if having just six teams in Division I will cost Region 10 its usual second berth in the Eastern District Tournament., but I believe Regions 15 and 20 are still smaller.

* Florence-Darlington Tech is again hosting several snowbird teams for full days of games on consecutive weekends.

* Claflin and North Greenville join host Francis Marion in a round robin format the opening weekend of February,

* USC Upstate and Wofford again will have a mix-and-match weekend with several visiting teams the last weekend in February.

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