LOUDONVILLE, NY – Siena Baseball Head Coach Tony Rossi has released his program’s 2018 schedule. The Saints are slated to play 55 regular season contests, which includes 20 scheduled home games at Siena Field.
The 2018 Siena Baseball schedule begins with a 22-game road trip – the program’s longest to open a season since playing 34 straight away from home to open the 2014 campaign – featuring seven opponents in five states scattered along the eastern seaboard. Overall, the Saints are slated to play 10 games this spring against 2017 NCAA Tournament teams, and 15 contests vs. squads which won either or both their conference’s regular season and/or tournament championships last season. Siena’s 20 scheduled home games marks the program’s most since hosting 21 contests in Loudonville in 2011.
“The squad is coming off a very productive fall campaign,” said Rossi, who is set to embark upon his 49th season leading the program. “With seven new players, the amount of time scrimmaging has allowed us to acclimate the newcomers to what we do. With the experienced returnees that we have, the learning curve was very short.”
The Saints will face their most daunting challenge of all right off the bat when they open their 2018 season with a three-game series at defending National Champion Florida Feb. 16-18 in Gainesville. This will mark the eighth time in the past nine seasons that Siena will commence its campaign in the Sunshine State. The Gators, who won 52 games last spring, are ranked No. 1 overall in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll while boasting five Preseason All-Americans in addition to welcoming in the nation’s second ranked recruiting class.
“The first couple of days, I am anxious to see how the guys have improved with their individual workouts in the offseason,” explained Rossi. “We will gradually work the team into game situations. We have a lot of youngsters who were here in the fall, but there is a big difference from fall ball to spring regular season games, so they will need to come out prepared and ready to get rolling.”
The Saints continue their season-opening month-and-a-half long road trip with series at Gardner-Webb (Feb. 22-24), Conference USA contender Charlotte (Mar. 2-4), defending American Athletic Conference Regular Season Champion Central Florida (Mar. 10-11), and Wofford (Mar. 17-18). Siena concludes the stretch with a single-game at Atlantic Coast Conference foe Boston College (Mar. 21), before finishing off the road trip with the start of conference play at defending MAAC Tournament Finalist Iona (Mar. 24-25).
Siena’s 2018 home opener is scheduled for Mar. 30 – Good Friday – when the Saints open a three-game series vs. reigning MAAC Tournament Champion Marist at Siena Field. The series kicks off a seven-game homestand, which includes a mid-week contest vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (Apr. 4) and a weekend set against Manhattan (Apr. 7-8).
Siena then returns to the road for its next nine games, including a mid-week matchup at defending Northeast Conference Tournament Champion Central Connecticut (Apr. 17), and a three-game series at two-time defending MAAC Regular Season Champion Fairfield (Apr. 21-22).
The Saints conclude their regular season slate by playing 12 of their final 15 games in Loudonville, which includes a season long eight-game homestand Apr. 27 – May 8. Highlights include a mid-week doubleheader vs. reigning America East Regular Season Champion Binghamton (May 8), and a regular season-ending three-game set vs. Saint Peter’s (May 17-18).
Siena will face Marist, Manhattan, Rider (May 5-6), and Saint Peter’s at home in MAAC action this season, and Iona, Quinnipiac (Apr. 14-15), Fairfield, and Monmouth (May 11-12) on the road. The Saints will not face Western New York foes Canisius and Niagara during the regular season as part of the conference schedule.
The league’s top-six finishers in the 11-team conference will qualify for the 2018 MAAC Baseball Championships set to be held May 23-26. For the next three years beginning this spring, the MAAC Baseball Championships will be contested at the home of the Staten Island Yankees – Richmond County Bank Ballpark – in Staten Island, New York.
Siena is set to return six of its top-seven hitters and two-thirds of its weekend rotation from last year’s squad which posted a 20-28-2 overall record, including an 11-13 mark in the MAAC.
"I am very optimistic that if we remain healthy, especially on the mound, that this can be a very successful season,” proclaimed Rossi.