Thursday, October 27, 2016
Northwestern has released its baseball schedule for the 2017 season. The Red Raiders have 50 games scheduled for the spring season, which includes 28 GPAC games. Northwestern finished fourth in the GPAC last season going 11-9 in league play. NWC went 23-27 overall in 2016.
Northwestern will open the season in Joplin, Missouri in a four game set against LSU-Alexandria. LSUA went 35-22 last season and finished as the Red River Athletic Conference champions after going 26-6 in conference play. They finished runner-up in the RRAC conference tournament.
The Red Raiders will play Missouri Valley in the second weekend of the season. MVC went 28-29 and 16-16 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
NWC will then go on their annual trip to Tucson, Arizona during spring break. That schedule will come out in late December/early January.
When the Raiders return from Arizona they will face 2016 NAIA World Series participant Bellevue University in a four game home/home series. Bellevue went 54-12 last season and finished 3rd in the World Series. Northwestern will also host Southwest Minnesota State in their final tune-up before the GPAC season starts. SMSU went 9-34 last season.
The GPAC regular season format has changed for the 2017 season. Each team will play 28 GPAC games in an unbalanced schedule. The schedule features five "four game sets" and four traditional doubleheaders. Each school will play their natural rival in a four game set broken up on two midweek dates.
Northwestern opens up with doubleheaders against Concordia and Briar Cliff on the road. NWC will host doubleheaders with Hastings and Doane on March 31 and April 1. Northwestern will host Dordt on March 28th and travel to Sioux Center on April 18th in the midweek four game set. The Red Raiders will play DWU, Midland, Mt. Marty, and Morningside in a weekend four game set. The Dakota Wesleyan and Midland series will feature one DH at home and one DH on the road. NWC will play all four games against MMC on the road and host Morningside in all four games.
12 of Northwestern's 50 games will be against schools that competed in the NAIA Opening Round last season. Their opponents for 2017 sported a 0.570 winning percentage in 2016.
"We are really excited for our 2017 schedule," said head coach Brian Wede. "It will be a challenging pre-GPAC schedule that will hopefully prepare us to have success in the GPAC and postseason. I am anxious to see how the new GPAC schedule format plays out and excited for the changes."
Northwestern returns five All-GPAC players from last season along with 19 letter winners.