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Friday, Oct. 15

2005 Illinois State baseball schedule finalized

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[OCT. 15, 2004]  NORMAL -- Jim Brownlee has always played a challenging schedule early in the baseball season to prepare his team for the month of May. The head coach at Illinois State has continued that philosophy, as the 2005 Redbird baseball schedule consists of four teams that took part in the 2004 NCAA regionals.

Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky, Missouri and Wichita State all participated in the regionals, with Vanderbilt advancing to the super-regionals. Other highlights on the schedule include a return game with cross-town rival Illinois Wesleyan, a season-opening series at perennial power Stetson and an eight-game spring break trip to Bradenton, Fla.

The season opens with a three-game series on Feb. 18, in DeLand, Fla., against Stetson University. The following weekend the 'Birds will play in the Music City Classic in Nashville, Tenn., before a second trip to Florida with the eight-game swing to Bradenton.

Illinois State opens the home schedule on March 23 against Missouri at Redbird Field, where they will play 10 consecutive games from March 23 to April 3. The 'Birds open Missouri Valley Conference play at home against Creighton on March 25.

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The Missouri Valley has implemented a major change in the 2005 schedule, as conference series will now be only three games instead of four, with games to be played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"The league will be very interesting this year," said Brownlee. "There is no clear-cut favorite and only playing three games will put much more emphasis on each league game. I think the scoring will be down a lot in the league."

For the second year in a row, Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan will play the Horenberger-Bass Classic, which will be at Redbird Field on May 3, 2005.

The 2005 ConAgra Foods Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Championship will be in Wichita, Kan., at Eck Stadium on May 25-28.

[Illinois State University news release]

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