The 2018 Lander baseball schedule has been completed and will feature the Bearcats playing 17 games against six participants in last season's NCAA Tournament.
The Bearcats' 2018 schedule also features 13 opponents and 25 games within the friendly confines of Dolny Stadium, where the squad is 162-74 (.686) over the last nine seasons. Lander has not had a losing record at home since 2008.
"My staff and I are very excited about the 2018 schedule," said head coach Jason Burke. "It is very challenging from start to finish, but we wanted to play the best competition possible to get this team ready to compete for a championship at the end of the year. We will have to have the right mentality to do so, but we also need to know what the best teams really look like. We have scheduled some really talented teams to play during non-conference play, and the PBC games are almost always against the nation's best. I cannot wait to see our guys compete against some of the best teams in the country."
Lander will open the season with a two-game series against defending Conference Carolinas champion Mount Olive beginning Saturday, Feb. 3. The Trojans were the top seed and hosted last season's Southeast Regional.
The following weekend, North Greenville faces Lander at Dolny Stadium on Friday and in a neutral site clash on Saturday.
The annual rivalry with Erskine is renewed when the Flying Fleet makes its annual trip to Greenwood on Wednesday, March 21, with the Bearcats traveling to Due West on Wednesday, April 18.
Other non-conference opponents coming to Dolny Stadium include Newberry (Feb. 13), Southern Wesleyan (Feb. 28), Lenoir-Rhyne (April 3), Anderson (April 10) and Belmont Abbey (April 17),
The Bearcats travel to Tusculum (Feb. 20), Newberry (Feb. 27), North Greenville (March 14), Belmont Abbey (March 27) and Lenoir-Rhyne (April 24) in non-conference play. Lander also plays a non-conference series against Nova Southeastern (March 8-10), a team that ended last season one game shy of the South Regional championship.
Lander will host five Peach Belt Conference matchups in 2018: Flagler (March 2-4), Francis Marion (March 23-25), Augusta (March 30-31), Georgia Southwestern (April 14-15) and North Georgia (April 27-29). The Bearcat will face Young Harris (Feb. 16-18), UNC Pembroke (Feb. 23-25), Columbus State (March 16-18), Georgia College (April 6-8) and USC Aiken (April 20-22) on the road in PBC play.
North Georgia represented the Southeast Region at the 2017 Division II College World Series, while PBC Tournament champion Georgia College, UNC Pembroke and USC Aiken were all NCAA Tournament participants.
Overall, Lander will face four teams that finished last year ranked in the Top 25: North Georgia (No. 5), Mount Olive (No. 7), Nova Southeastern (No. 20) and USC Aiken (No. 23). Belmont Abbey and UNC Pembroke also received votes in the final poll.