SAINT LEO, Fla. – A total of 28 home games, 10 games against NCAA Division II tournament teams, and 33 games against teams that were .500-or-better in 2016 highlight the 2017 Saint Leo University baseball schedule, unveiled Thursday by Saint Leo head baseball coach Sean O'Connor.
"We're very happy with our strength of schedule for this season," said O'Connor. "We feel we have put ourselves in position where if we have a solid winning season then we can get an NCAA regional bid out of this."
Saint Leo's 2017 opponents posted a combined .572 winning percentage in 2016. Catawba College (March 8 at home), the University of Tampa (March 10-11 in Tampa, Fla.), Nova Southeastern University (March 24-25 at home), and Lynn University (April 7-8 at home) all qualified for the 2016 NCAA tournament, with Nova Southeastern bringing the national championship to the Sunshine State Conference for the second year in a row.
The season opens on Friday, Feb. 3, with the Lions hosting West Alabama out of the Gulf South Conference for a three-game series at Thomas B. Southard Stadium. The home stand continues with another three-game South Region series against Gulf South-foe Lee University on February 10-12, before Saint Leo hits the road for three South Region games at Albany State (Ga.) on February 17-19.
Additional non-conference South Region series are on the schedule against Palm Beach Atlantic (February 24-25 at home), Benedict College (March 3-4 in Columbia, S.C.), and Embry Riddle (March 31-April 1 in Daytona Beach, Fla.), as well as a single game at Valdosta State (April 12 in Valdosta, Ga.).
The non-conference slate also features single games against Northwood Univ. (March 6 at home) and the Univ. of Bridgeport (March 13 at home), a pair of non-conference games versus Rollins College (March 15-16 at home), along with a two-game set against in-state rival Flagler College (March 5-6 at home).
Additional Sunshine State Conference opponents visiting Southard Stadium in 2017 will be Florida Tech (April 21-22) and Florida Southern (May 12-13).
Selections to the 2016 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship will be announced on Sunday, May 14, 2017, with Regionals taking place at campus site on May 18-21, 2017. The eight-regional winners will advance to the NCAA Championship round, which will be held May 27-June 3, 2017, at a site to be determined.
For more on the Saint Leo baseball program, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also, be sure to 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' Saint Leo Athletics on Twitter and Instagram.