GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman opens its 2013 baseball season on Friday against Michigan State in a 5:00 p.m. game at Fluor Field in the First Pitch Invitational sponsored by the Greenville Drive, the South Atlantic League Single-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
The Paladins will face Northwestern on Saturday at noon and complete their three-game season opening weekend with a Sunday 3:00 p.m. clash against Miami University, also at Fluor Field. Livestats for all three contests will be available through www.furmanpaladins.com
Tickets to all the games are on sale and can be purchased by logging onto GreenvilleDrive.com, calling (864) 240-4528, or visiting the Fluor Field Box Office.
Senior left-hander Nate Smith (4-5, 5.54 ERA in 2012) is expected to take the mound for Furman. The Spartans will counter with senior right-hander Andrew Waszak (4-4, 2.96 ERA)
Furman dropped a pair of games to Michigan State in last year's First Pitch Invitational at Fluor Field, falling 4-2 and 6-2 in 11 innings.
The Spartans, a coaches Big 10 preseason third place pick, are coming off a 2012 season that netted a 37-23 record and NCAA Tournament appearance.
A Southern Conference preseason seventh place pick by league head coaches, Furman returns 23 lettermen off last year's squad that went 28-31 overall and finished tied for seventh in the 11-team SoCon.
Among Furman's headliners are preseason All-SoCon center fielder Will Muzika (.283, 3 HR, 33 RBI), 2012 SoCon All-Tournament right fielder Taylor Johnson (.322, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 2012 SoCon All-Freshman Team third baseman Chris Ohmstede (.286, 6 HR, 27 RBI), and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America RHP Elliott Warford (6-0, 3.61 ERA, 7 saves).
The Paladins are expected to throw Warford on Saturday against Northwestern and either junior RHP Jacques de Gruy (1-2, 7.20 ERA) or sophomore RHPJake Wolff (0-0, 5.79 ERA) in Sunday's matchup versus Miami.
Furman will play at least nine games at Fluor Field in 2013 and will co-host with the Drive the 2013 SoCon Tournament (May 22-25).
The Paladins are coached by Ron Smith, who is entering his 20th season at Furman.