MTSU baseball to play full 56-game schedule in 2021

JIM TOMAN

MTSU's baseball team will play a full 56-game schedule in 2021 despite not playing a full 30-game Conference USA slate.

Instead, each team in C-USA will play 24 league games, including facing one opponent twice during the regular season.

"The conference decided to cut down on flights and go to Western Division and East Division," MTSU coach Jim Toman said. "Instead of flying two or three times, everybody will be flying once. We'll still pick up an opponent the fifth week when we don't have a conference series and one the last week before the conference tournament.

"A lot of programs have had budget cuts and some are dropping to 45 or 50 games. Lucky for us, (MTSU Athletic Director) Chris Massaro and the administration like baseball. We're also keeping the eight-team tournament at Louisiana Tech. They're building a new stadium."

The West Division will include MTSU, UAB, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana Tech, Rice and Texas-San Antonio. The East Division will be made up Western Kentucky, Marshall, Charlotte, Old Dominion, Florida Atlantic and Florida International. Each team will play their division opponents once, with the exception of playing a "travel partner" twice home and home. Each team will play two opponents from the other division.

"We'll fly to UTSA, FIU flies here and we go to Western Kentucky," Toman said. "We have Louisiana Tech here, we go to Southern Miss and Rice will play here. We'll play UAB twice.

"We're going to pick up Kennesaw State that fifth week and play a series with Marshall the week before the tournament, but the games won't count in the conference standings."

MTSU was scheduled to open the season at Furman, but the university dropped its baseball program.

"We've had to scramble to add an opener and a few other games, but we're about 95 percent done with the schedule unless new rules are put in place," Toman said. "It seems to be changing every day. They've allowed us 32 slots for our roster, but we still have the same 11.7 scholarships to divide up."

Toman said most of his team isn't playing organized baseball this summer.

"A few are out there are, but not many," he said. "The main leagues got dropped like the Cape Cod, the Valley League and the California and Florida Leagues. A couple are going to start up in July, but I'm real hesitant about sending my guys out not knowing if they're in shape or not and where the virus is and what procedures are in place."

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