HARRISONBURG, Va., Sept. 11, 2012 - James Madison baseball head coach Spanky McFarland on Tuesday announced the 55-game schedule for the 2013 season, which will include 30 games at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
"It's similar to every other year in that we challenge ourselves early with a tournament in South Carolina at Coastal Carolina. We'll entertain a few schools from up North and play quite a few home games to try to figure out where we are and get ready for conference play," offered McFarland, who will don the purple and gold for his 16th season as skipper. "There is one thing that we're trying different by going to North Carolina for a couple of games after exams, which could help us to get ready for the final series and the tournament."
A pair of four-game series will highlight a stretch of 18 out of the first 22 games at home for the Diamond Dukes. Following an opening weekend tournament at Coastal Carolina (opponents TBA), JMU will play 18 of 19 at home, including sets of four games against a pair of America East programs in Binghamton (Feb. 22-24) and Hartford (March 1-3).
The tail end of the home stretch will feature the beginning of Colonial Athletic Association play with a pair of home series against Hofstra March 8-10 and UNCW March 15-17. The 10-team CAA will consist of nine series for 27 games, almost half of JMU's overall schedule.
The Dukes will play five of their nine league series at home as the Hofstra and UNCW sets will be followed by Old Dominion April 5-7, Georgia State April 19-21 and Towson May 10-12. The four road series will feature George Mason March 22-24, Northeastern March 29-31, William and Mary April 12-14 and Delaware to close the regular season May 16-18.
Following the home-heavy slate to open the campaign, the tide turns on the Dukes with 13 of 17 on the road, which includes the GMU, NU and W&M weekends.
The schedule features the continuation of traditional home-and-away midweek series against regional opponents such as Longwood (home Feb. 20, away April 17), Maryland (home Feb. 26, away March 19), Radford (home March 5, away March 6), VMI (home March 12, away April 2) and Liberty (home March 26 & May 14, away April 9).
Other highlighted games include April 24 at Virginia, a two-game midweek series at North Carolina May 7-8 and the return of George Washington to the schedule with an away doubleheader at refurbished Barcroft Park April 27 and a home game April 28 during JMU's CAA bye weekend. The Dukes and Colonials had squared off every season from 1988 through 2009 until a hiatus during the 2010, 2011 and 2012 campaigns.
The 2013 CAA Championship returns to Eagle Field for a second year after UNCW fought off a hot Delaware squad for the 2012 title. Six squads among the eight that are eligible will qualify for the event to be held May 22-25.