Lane College head baseball coach Donny Crawford was known to schedule tough NCAA Division II opponents when he led the Stillman College baseball program from 2005-2015. Coach Crawford was hired by Lane College this past spring after the conclusion of the 2022 season. Lane’s 2023 schedule features 53 games (29 home, 24 away) against nationally ranked NCAA DII Top 25 ranked teams including those ranked last season in HBCU Baseball Top Ten and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Regional polls.
Lane will play six teams in 2023 that earned trips to the NCAA Regional Tournament last season and are receiving preseason ranking coming into this season. Teams that received DII postseason regional play last year that Lane has scheduled this year are against Nova Southeastern University, Ouachita Baptist University, Young Harris College, Lee University, Spring Hill College, and Delta State University.
The Dragons ball club opens its season with four straight games on the road in Florida visiting Lynn University in Boca Raton February 2, have scheduled games on February 3 with Nova Southeastern in Ft. Lauderdale, February 4 versus Barry University, then faces Palm Beach University Feb. 5 in West Palm Beach. Lane also has a single game with Henderson University on Feb. 10. Henderson played in the 2022 NCAA DII Central Regional Tournament and is receiving preseason DII rankings.
Lane will play a string of road tough non-conference preseason ranked opponents at Henderson University on Feb. 10, Ouachita Baptist Feb. 12, Lee University home and home two-game series at Lee March 1 and home game in Jackson, Tennessee March 21, Young Harris two-game series March 15, visit SIAC conference champs Spring Hill three-games series April 1-2, split home/away games against Harding University March 28 and April 11, as well as a single home date with Delta State University.
Lane College will continue its torrid schedule with tilts at HBCU baseball SIAC conference which includes teams that played in the Black College World Series (BCWS) this past 2022 season. Foe Savannah State Feb. 18-19, Albany State Feb. 25-26, non-conference game in Holly Springs, Mississippi with Rust College March 8, Kentucky State April 7-8, three-games series with defending BCWS champions Edward Waters April 15-16, then the Dragons close out the season at home against Miles April 27-28.
Albany State, Rust, Edward Waters, and Miles played in the 2022 Black College World Series this past May in Montgomery, AL, also the site of the 2023 BCWS.
Lane hired former Stillman head coach Crawford after the conclusion of last season in June. Crawford was recently inducted into Stillman Hall of Fame. His career record 272-236 is second all-time at Stillman for wins, won seven SIAC titles in 2007-2009 and 2011-2014; in 2010 and 2015, includes a nine-year streak of 20-win seasons from 2006-2014 which is currently the longest in school history. The 2012 team was crown HBCU baseball national champion, the first in program history securing Crawford among all-time HBCU baseball national coaching champions.
Teams coached by Crawford have knocked off top ranked NCAA DII baseball programs during his coaching tenure. In my opinion, I respectively expect he will do so again with Lane College.