GREENSBORO (November 24, 2017) – North Carolina A&T will spend a lot of time at historic War Memorial Stadium during the 2018 baseball season. Aggies baseball, who staged one of the biggest turnarounds in the country last season, improving by 15 games from the 2016 season, released their 2018 schedule on Friday.
The 52-game schedule features 32 home contests. It also features three opponents from the Big South and two opponents apiece from the ACC, Patriot League and Atlantic-10 conferences, as well as teams from the SEC, Southern Conference, SWAC, Sun Belt and Atlantic Sun.
“The opportunity to play 32 home games at War Memorial Stadium in front of our fans is an awesome opportunity,” said N.C. A&T coach Ben Hall, the reigning coach of the year in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. “We are excited with the challenges it presents with five NCAA regional teams from 2017 and a two-time national championship program. We are continually working to put our guys in situations that will prepare them for a very challenging MEAC Southern Division schedule and beyond.”
N.C. A&T opens the 2018 schedule on Friday, Feb. 16 with a three-game homestand versus MEAC member Coppin State that will not count toward the league standings. This marks the sixth time out of seven years that the Aggies have started the season at War Memorial Stadium.
Two days after their battle with the Eagles, the Aggies tangle with North Carolina State in their first road game on Tuesday, Feb. 20 in Raleigh. Last season, the Wolfpack advanced to its third consecutive NCAA tournament and made its 16th appearance in the last 21 seasons. The teams last played in 2016 with N.C. State winning both games.
A day later High Point makes their way to WMS for the first of two meetings between the two Triad universities. The two teams will also face each other on April 25 in High Point. After the home contest with the Panthers, N.C. A&T will host Lehigh of the Patriot League for three games including a twin bill slated for Saturday, Feb. 24. The month of February concludes with back-to-back non-conference matchups against Davidson on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at home and a road game against USC Upstate on Wednesday, Feb. 28 in Spartanburg, S.C. USC Upstate will return the home game with the Aggies on March 27 in a 6 p.m., contest at WMS.
Another Patriot league foe is slated to visit the Gate City as Bucknell will be the Aggies fifth different opponent at WMS to start March in a weekend series on Friday, March 2-4. Last season, Bucknell (21-28) made an appearance in the Patriot League championship series. N.C. A&T heads back to South Carolina for a midweek matchup with the SEC’s Gamecocks who were 35-25 last season, advancing to the semifinals of the conference tournament.
MEAC play begins on Saturday, March 10 as the Aggies host rival North Carolina Central in a doubleheader followed by a single game on Sunday, March 11. The Aggies finished 15-9 in the MEAC last season, tying the school record for MEAC wins.
Next, N.C. A&T travels to their second ACC opponent when they face the North Carolina Tar Heels on Tuesday, March 13. UNC was the No. 2 national seed and won 49 games in 2017. Presbyterian comes to WMS a day later before a weekend-series with the A-10’s St. Bonaventure, March 16-18. The Bonnies went 26-22 and head coach Larry Sudbrook was honored as coach of the year in the A-10. An evening neutral site meeting with crosstown rival UNC Greensboro at First National Bank Field takes place on March 21.
Conference play resumes with a road trip against reigning MEAC tournament champion Bethune-Cookman (March 24-25) in Daytona Beach, Fla. The month of March wraps up with a trip to Savannah State for a weekend series beginning with a doubleheader on March 30.
Four home games will occur for the Aggies from April 7-11 as Florida A&M comes in for a weekend conference series before in-state non-conference rival Appalachian State visits on April 11. The Aggies will return the home game on May 2 when they go to Boone, N.C., for a midweek contest.
A short-distance trip to NCCU (April 14-15) in Durham will be followed by a three-game non-conference matchup against SWAC opponent Alabama A&M on April 20-22 at WMS. The Aggies host Bethune-Cookman and Savannah State in consecutive weekends (April 28-29 and May 5-6) to conclude their home slate. N.C. A&T closes the regular season with a three-game set at FAMU, May 11-12.
The 2018 MEAC Baseball Championship Tournament is set for May 16-19 in Daytona Beach, Fla. The Aggies are looking for their first title in 13 years. The Aggies return 24 players who saw action from a 2017 squad that went 28-25, had five players voted either first or second-team All-MEAC and had a player, Cutter Dyals, selected in the MLB Draft.