The Southeastern Louisiana University baseball team released its 2011 schedule on Thursday. A schedule that will be one of the toughest in program history. Coach Jay Artigues and his Lions, coming off the first 40 win season in school history, will face 13 of 21 teams that won 30 or more games last season. And if that isn't tough enough 31 games will be played away from the friendly confines of "The Pat".
SLU will open the season February 18-20 on the road against Florida International, the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Tournament champions. As the Lions head down to Miami for this contest, the program will be on college baseball's national stage. FIU shortstop Garret Wittels will be looking to break Robin Ventura's NCAA D-1 record 58 game hitting streak. Wittels currently has a 56 game hitting streak dating back to last season. With college baseball's most prestigious record on the line, ESPN will be showing live in-game updates of all of Wittels' at bats on Friday and Saturday. If the streak is still in tact on Sunday ESPN anticipates broadcasting the game live.
Things will not get any easier for the Lions during the second weekend as they head east to Mobile, AL to participate in one of the country's top tournaments. The Green and Gold will face SEC power Alabama, Sun Belt foe South Alabama, and Central Florida of C-USA in the University of South Alabama Tournament.
The 2011 season features a Super Regional participant (Alabama), five Regional participants (Alabama, FIU, Lamar, LSU, & ULL), and two 40 game winners (Alabama & LSU) from a year ago. Seven of the Lions first eight games will be played on the road. The Lions will have two five game home stands on March 4-9 and March 30-April 6. SLU's longest stint away from Hammond will be four games; however this will happen five times during the season.
Southland Conference teams who will visit "The Pat" are McNeese State (Mar 18-20), defending SLC tourney champ Lamar (Apr 1-3), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Apr 21-23), and Stephen F Austin (May 13-15). SLU will rack up the frequent flyer miles as they visit Texas-San Antonio (Mar 11-13), Central Arkansas (Mar 25-27), Texas-Arlington (Apr 8-10), defending SLC champ Texas State (Apr 15-17), Sam Houston (Apr 29-May 1), and Northwestern State (May 19-21). Nicholls State will travel to Hammond to face the Lions twice (May 6 & 8) sandwiched between a game in Thibodaux (May 7).
The Southland Conference Tournament will be held on the campus of Texas State in San Marcos, TX May 25-28.
Rounding out the remainder of the non-conference schedule will be Tulane (Feb 22, Mar 15, & Apr 19), Sacred Heart (Mar 4-7), LSU (Mar 1), ULL (Mar 9 & Apr 26), UNO (Mar 22, Mar 30, Apr 27, & May 3) Southern (Mar 29 & Apr 12), and South Alabama (Apr 6).