BEMIDJI, Minn. - Bemidji State head baseball coach Chris Brown today announced the program’s 2004 baseball schedule. The 54-game slate features a lengthy road trip to Missouri and Kansas to kick the season off in early March and a 20-game home schedule which features non-conference double-headers against regional rivals North Dakota and St. Cloud State.
The Beavers open the 2004 baseball campaign March 5-6 with a three-game series at Central Oklahoma. BSU then head to Missouri Southern for tournament, March 9-10. BSU will play four games at Missouri Southern against a to-be-determined lineup of opponents.
The Beavers then head to Warrensburg, Mo. for a three-game slate at the Central Missouri State tournament. BSU will play a single game against the hosts on March 12, then play Benedictine (Kan.) College and Northeastern (Okla.) State in a March 13 twinbill.
“It will be a big challenge early in the year playing teams of that caliber,” Brown said. “Not only because they are quality opponents, but they will have already played 15-16 games by the time we get down there.
“It’s a situation where, in my mind, we have a senior-oriented team with guys who have been around,” Brown added. “We’ll get out and see what it takes to get to the next level. It wouldn’t benefit this year’s team to go beat up on people and come back not ready for conference play. We’re going to play tough competition, then when we get home we’ll be ready to go.”
BSU then returns north for non-conference double-headers at Briar Cliff (Iowa) and South Dakota before opening Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play March 27 at Southwest Minnesota State. The SMS series opens a 28-game NSIC slate, with 14 road games against SMS, Concordia-St. Paul (four games), Minn.-Duluth (two games) and Northern State (four games) and 14 home games - four games each against Winona State, Minn.-Crookston and Wayne State (Neb.) and two games against Minn.-Duluth.
The Beavers play a two-game non-conference twinbill at St. Cloud State on March 31 and make their home debut with a non-conference double-header against North Dakota on April 6. A return trip to North Dakota on April 19 breaks up a 12-game home stand, which if played in its entirety would be amongst BSU’s longest home stands ever. BSU tied a school record set in 1965 by playing 14 consecutive home games to close out the 2003 season.
Highlighting the schedule for Brown will be a two-game home non-conference series against his alma mater, Jamestown (N.D.) College, on April 27. Brown graduated from Jamestown in 2000 and coached there in 2001 before joining the coaching staff at BSU as a graduate assistant for the 2002 season.
“We both needed games, and it worked out where we could play them,” Brown said. “It’s a home-and-home agreement; we’re going to go there next year. Personally, it’s nice to play them. In my mind, they’re probably the top NAIA program in the area. I think it’ll be fun. The group of seniors for them were incoming freshmen the first year I coached there. It’ll be a personal challenge coaching against [Jamestown head coach] Tom Hager; I have a great relationship with him off the field, and he’s been a mentor to me.”
BSU wraps up regular-season play with a double-header at Minn.-Duluth on April 28 and a four-game NSIC series at Northern State, May 1-2. The NSIC post-season tournament will be held May 6-9 on the campus of the tournament’s No. 1 seed and will feature the league’s top four teams from the regular-season race.
BSU is scheduled to play its first 26 games of the season on the road, and in total 34 of its 54 scheduled regular-season games are away from home. BSU has a 12-game homestand from April 6-18 and an eight-game stand from April 21-27 to encompass all of its scheduled home games. All 20 Bemidji State home games are scheduled in a 22-day span from April 6 to April 27, 2004. In total, BSU’s 54-game schedule covers a span of just 59 days from March 5 to May 2, 2004.
Bemidji State posted a 15-27 record in 2003, Brown’s debut as head coach, but was an even 11-11 in NSIC play. Brown’s 11 wins in NSIC play were second-most ever league wins by a BSU rookie head coach, topped only by a 12-8 mark in Doug Smith’s 1988 debut. BSU played 40 games for the first time since 1999 and just the ninth time in school history. BSU’s 42 games played in 2003 were tied for seventh-most in a season in school history.