The Lions’ baseball team is set to play a 55 game schedule that includes all Division I teams such as Jacksonville State, Troy, Ole Miss, Memphis and The Citadel.
The North Alabama baseball team schedule includes eight ASUN conference three-game series. The schools come from Alabama, Florida, New Jersey, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia.
The conference schedule is as follows: Florida Gulf Coast, Kennesaw State, Jacksonville, Liberty, Lipscomb, NJIT, North Florida and Stetson.
The non-conference schedule includes three SEC teams to note: Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss.
North Alabama’s schedule introduces 24 different teams for the 2019 season. Nine of these teams are first time opponents, while the other 15 are renewed rivalries from the ‘90s.
“I believe we are going to surprise a lot of people.” said senior second baseman Davis Elliott. “We do not have the power we have had in past years, but believe we will make up for it with our speed and aggressiveness on the bases. We added some solid arms this past year and believe we will have a solid pitching rotation.”
Mike Keehn is in his 11th season as head coach of the Lions and his 31st overall in the baseball program.
“Obviously this is a very challenging,” said Keehn. “It was very important that we get to play a strong Division I schedule and we were fortunate that teams wanted to play us, including talented regional teams and some SEC teams.”
In 2018, UNA posted a 31-20 overall record while playing in the Gulf South Conference and in their last year as a Division II team. The team retained four starters and 15 players overall from last year’s team.
“Looking at this team, I don’t think this transition could have happened at a better time.” said senior shortstop Peyton Sockwell. “We brought in 10 to 15 new guys this year so a good portion of this team doesn’t know anything about Division II. They are all Division I level talent type guys. As for me and a couple other returners who have played in the GSC (Gulf South Conference) for multiple seasons, we believe our coaching staff has assembled a group of guys that’s very capable of going into the ASUN and doing damage right away. We feel confident in who we are as a team and believe that we belong here. I really think we will surprise some people this year.”
The returnees include three year-starters Sockwell and Davis Elliott at second base. The list includes seven position players and eight pitchers.
The Lions will play their first 18 out of 23 games on the road to start the Division I season. UNA will play 36 total road games out of the 55 game schedule.
The Lions’ first ASUN game series is March 29th against Stetson, who made the 2018 super regionals before they fell to North Carolina.
The season will end at the 2019 ASUN conference tournament May 22-25 in DeLand, FL.