2014 MAC Baseball Opening Weekend Schedule

Scott Baker won the 2013 MAC Pitcher of the Year as a sophomore. - Ball State Photo Services

Winter storms and cramped bus rides, it must be the start of the 2014 MAC Baseball season.

The sweat, sweet ping of a metal bat cracking into a ball is going to fill the airwaves this weekend as the 2014 college baseball season officially begins Friday. Though the MAC may still be in the middle of a frigid winter, the season must begin. All 12 MAC teams open their seasons this weekend, and all on the road.

We've decided to put together a nice little viewing guide for you. Here it is: BUY A PLANE TICKET AND GO TO THE GAMES. Simple, right? No, in all seriousness, though it may be close to impossible to actually watch any of the MAC Baseball games this weekend, that doesn't mean you shouldn't know what's going on. Let's take a look at the opening weekend schedule.

AKRON

The Akron Zips open their season in Rock Hill, S.C. this weekend as they take on the Winthrop Eagles. Due to weather, Friday's game has been pushed back to Saturday, creating an Opening Day doubleheader. Maybe, if you're lucky, Zippy will break in that news Zips Baseball Snapchat account with her downtime on Friday.

OPPONENT FIRST PITCH (ET)
@ Winthrop Saturday, 1 p.m.
@ Winthrop Saturday, 4 p.m.
@ Winthrop Sunday, 1 p.m.

BALL STATE

While America digs its way out of the latest ice storm, the Ball State Cardinals are opening their season in the aptly names Snow Bird Classic from beautiful Port Charlotte, Fla.. Honestly, I have no clue of Pot Charlotte is beautiful, it could be a disgusting concrete swamp like many parts of Florida, but still, it's likely prettier than Muncie, Ind. in February. Anyway, the Cardinals get to play a nice mix of teams in the tournament this week, including a pair of B1G teams.

OPPONENT FIRST PITCH (ET)
@ Wisconsin-Milwaukee Friday, 3 p.m.
@ Mississippi Valley State Friday, 6 p.m.
@ Iowa Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
@ Northwestern Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

BOWLING GREEN

The Falcons are heading to Nashville this weekend to begin the follow up to the their 2013 MAC Tournament Championship. Country music, souther hospitality and a little Falcon vs. Bruin action are on the docket this weekend. Belmont is expected to be one of the better teams in the Ohio Valley Conference this season, a conference known for some surprisingly good baseball, so it's a great opening-weekend test for the Orange and Brown.

OPPONENT FIRST PITCH (ET)
@ Belmont Friday, 5 p.m.
@ Belmont Saturday, 2 p.m.
@ Belmont Sunday, 1 p.m.

BUFFALO

Snow has already gotten the better of this series, with both teams scrambling to find a way to fit three games in over the weekend. The logical choice would be a Saturday doubleheader, except that the weather isn't looking all too friendly on Saturday. Still, this is baseball season, and the games must be played one way or another, even if it means a triple header.

OPPONENT FIRST PITCH (ET)
@ Davidson TBA
@ Davidson Saturday, 3 p.m.
@ Davidson Sunday, 1 p.m.


CENTRAL MICHIGAN

I want to lodge a formal complaint on behalf of the Chippewas' baseball team. Three days in Vegas, and you book a fourth game? Let the men enjoy Sin City a little why don't ya? How many times does a 20-something get an all expenses paid trip to Vegas? Let them take advantage of it! The Chippewas are going up against one of the nations best pitchers this weekend in All-American right-hander Erick Fedde. CMU has high expectations for this season, a strong showing in this series would be a fantastic first step.

OPPONENT FIRST PITCH (ET)
@ UNLV Friday, 9:05 p.m.
@ UNLV Saturday, 4:05 p.m.
@ UNLV Saturday, 7:35 p.m.
@ UNLV Sunday, 4:05 p.m.

EASTERN MICHIGAN

There's just something about Eastern Michigan and pain that goes hand-in-hand. The Eagles, famous for their brutal baseball schedules, are opening their baseball season with a three-game road stand against No. 16 Clemson. The Tigers are loaded, and EMU could be in for a rough opening weekend. I'm sure the payday, and the Carolina weather will make it all worth it in the end.

OPPONENT FIRST PITCH (ET)
@ Clemson Friday, 4 p.m.
@ Clemson Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
@ Clemson Sunday, 1 p.m.

KENT STATE

Kent State begins its run for yet another MAC Championship from the beautiful Arizona dessert this weekend. The Golden Flashes have a three game stretch vs No. 33 Arizona in what should be a fantastic series. If any MAC team can compete with a PAC 12 school on the diamond, it would be Kent State. Just ask Oregon.

OPPONENT FIRST PITCH (ET)
@ Arizona Friday, 8 p.m.
@ Arizona Saturday, 8 p.m.
@ Arizona Sunday, 2 p.m.

MIAMI

Dear lord, please grant Miami the power it needs to punish those Red Wolves for what they did to the MAC this bowl season. The RedHawks open their season up in Jonesboro, Ark.. 'Hawks fans will have to follow the beginning of the Danny Hayden era from afar, but with favorable pitching match ups on Saturday and Sunday it's not improbable to see Miami come away with a series victory.

OPPONENT FIRST PITCH (ET)
@ Arkansas State Friday, 7 p.m.
@ Arkansas State Saturday, 3 p.m.
@ Arkansas State Sunday, 2 p.m.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS

A Northern Illinois home series in Glendale, Ariz.? MAC Baseball, you're such a beautiful disaster. The Huskies won the MAC West last season, and their road to a repeat starts against the Minnesota Gophers. If the football team's knack for beating B1G squads runs in the Huskies blood, NIU should have little problem with this series.

OPPONENT FIRST PITCH (ET)
vs. Minnesota Friday, 3 p.m.
vs. Minnesota Saturday, 3 p.m.
vs. Minnesota Sunday, 3 p.m.

OHIO: CANCLED

Year two of the Rob Smith era officially begins Saturday at noon in Cullowhee, N.C.. Believe it or not weather has affected this series already too (thanks, you bastard) forcing a Saturday afternoon doubleheader. The Bobcats biggest issue in 2013 was a lack of experience and depth, with both of those issues now solved thanks to a year under many of the pitching staff's belts, Ohio will get a chance to starting rebuilding it's once proud program against Western Carolina this weekend.

OPPONENT FIRST PITCH (ET)
@ Western Carolina Saturday, 12 p.m.
@ Western Carolina Saturday, 4 p.m.
@ Western Carolina Sunday, 1 p.m.


TOLEDO

The Rockets have an interesting opening weekend planned in Greenville, S.C.. They open up against Xavier on Friday, play Norfolk State on Saturday. Toledo is in the highly competitive MAC West, so notching as many non-conference wins as possible will go a long way towards getting the team ready for the grueling conference slate.

OPPONENT FIRST PITCH (ET)
@ Xavier Friday, 4 p.m.
@ Norfolk State Saturday, 12 p.m.
@ Furman Sunday, 3 p.m.


WESTERN MICHIGAN

The Broncos open their season up in Memphis, Tenn.. It won't be all barbecue and blues music for WMU, as the Tigers are a pretty feisty squad. WMU is a bottom-rung MAC team as well. Row the boat.

OPPONENT FIRST PITCH (ET)
@ Memphis Friday, 4 p.m.
@ Memphis Saturday, 2 p.m.
@ Memphis Sunday, 12 p.m.

Now go buy some crackerjacks.

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