KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- Highlighted by a home series against Arizona State, a tournament at the USA Baseball National Training Complex and the renewal of the Hokie-Smokey Classic series with Virginia Tech, the Tennessee baseball program announced its 2013 schedule on Monday.
“I am very pleased with the schedule we have put together,” UT head coach Dave Serrano said. “We will certainly be challenged from the first game on, but players come to Tennessee to compete against the best in the nation and that is what we intend to do. In order to prepare to play in the SEC it is important that we are test ourselves. With perennial powers like Arizona State and Notre Dame on our schedule early, we will learn a lot about our team before we start conference play.
“I am especially excited about hosting Arizona State, one of the top programs in the country year after year, and restarting the Hokie-Smokey Classic with Virginia Tech, both of which I feel our fans will enjoy. They supported us through thick-and-thin last year, so we are looking forward to providing them with a fun and winning brand of baseball to cheer on this season.”
The Vols will open their second season under Serrano on the road when they travel to Las Vegas, to take on UNLV in a four-game set, Feb. 15-17. It will mark the first time since 2007 that the program starts the year away from Knoxville and just the second trip ever to the Entertainment Capital of the World with the first coming in 1988.
Tennessee then returns to Rocky Top to host perennial power Arizona State, a team it last played in the 2005 College World Series, Feb. 22-24 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville.
After the first game in a home-and-home midweek series with ETSU, Serrano will then take the Big Orange to the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., where he spent his summer as the head coach of the Collegiate National Team. There, UT will compete in a tournament with Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Rhode Island and Ohio, March 1-3.
The longest home series of the season will round out the final portion of UT’s slate before the beginning of conference play as it hosts a Tuesday tilt against Belmont, a weekend series versus Alcorn State and a two-game midweek set against former Vol Matt Myers’ Western Kentucky squad.
The Volunteers will open their league schedule on the road at Alabama, March 15-17, in Tuscaloosa before returning home for their first meeting with Missouri in school history, March 22-24. UT will close out its regular-season schedule at home against Texas A&M, May 16-18.
The Orange and White will also travel to Vanderbilt (March 29-31), Kentucky (April 12-14), Florida (April 26-28) and Arkansas (May 10-12), while it is set to host South Carolina (April 5-7), Ole Miss (April 19-21) and Georgia (May 3-5). Tennessee will not face LSU, Auburn or Mississippi State.
Another exciting addition to this year’s schedule is the return of the Hokie-Smokey Classic against Virginia Tech. The Vols and Hokies will play on Tuesday, April 16, at Pioneer Park, home of the Greeneville Astros, reviving a neutral-site rivalry that saw the two teams play in Kingsport, Tenn., from 1995-98 and 2001.
Rounding out its non-conference schedule, UT will host midweek games against Western Carolina (March 20), Tennessee Tech (26), Longwood University (April 2), MTSU (April 30), Arkansas State (May 8) and Morehead State (May 14). Tennessee will travel to ETSU (April 9) and MTSU (April 23).
The 2012 SEC Tournament, which features the league's top 10 finishers in the regular season, is set for May 21-26 at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. NCAA Regional action takes place May 31-June 3, followed by NCAA Super Regional play, June 7-10.
The NCAA College World Series will return to Ameritrade Stadium in downtown Omaha, Neb., for the third time, June 15-26. Tennessee has made four previous appearances at the College World Series (1951, 1995, 2001 and 2005).
Game times and season ticket information will be released at a later date. Fall practice for the Vols begins Sunday, Sept. 23. All practices and scrimmages are free and open to the public.