BLACKSBURG, Va. - With the announcement of the Virginia Tech 2013 baseball schedule, which includes facing 28 teams from 10 different conferences and 22 games against NCAA participants last year, it’s apparent the Hokies will be tested right out of the gates by two of those postseason teams from a year ago.
The Hokies start the 2013 slate in a tournament in Wilmington, N.C. on Feb. 15-17 and face a pair of defending conference tournament champions. The team will face the Colonial Athletic Association’s Seahawks in two games after opening with a pair of games against Metro Atlantic Conference champ and College World Series participant Kent State.
“I really like the variety of our schedule this year, because we play a lot of teams that Virginia Tech hasn’t played in its recent past,” head coach Pete Hughes said. “I also love the fact that it’s, without a doubt, the strongest schedule that we’ve assembled since I’ve been here and that can only be a good thing in prepare to play every weekend in the ACC.
“For us to win at the level that we want to win at, we need to be very good on the road and that’s why I scheduled so aggressively early on with two non-league tournaments on the road. I also like the fact that we are playing some teams from different conference, like the SEC, the BIG EAST, the MAC, the CAA.
"There are some really good teams that we are playing and the challenges that we are going to face and I think it’s going to make us a better team in our league. Our main goal is to get better in the ACC and playing formidable outside of our conference will help us do that.”
Tech will then host four games in Blacksburg the following weekend as Temple and Holy Cross come to English Field. The Hokies face the Owls, former foes from the Atlantic 10 Conference, in their home opener on Feb. 22. Holy Cross, a Patriot League tournament participant, made its league tournament final last year.
The Crusaders add to the following numbers on Tech’s 2013 schedule: 31 games against teams that made their respective conference tournament, 13 games against teams that made the championship game and seven games against teams that won it.
Tech will get used to the I-81, I-77 route to North Carolina as 16 of its 28 road games and the ACC Baseball Championship will be played in the state. Those games also include a tournament in Cary, N.C. in the beginning of March as the Hokies face Rhode Island, Ohio and Notre Dame, as well as Tennessee for the first of two meetings with the Volunteers.
The second meeting against Tennessee will renew an old rivalry, the “Hokie-Smokey Classic” on April 16 at Pioneer Park, the home of the Greeneville Astros, in Greeneville, Tenn. This revives a neutral-site rivalry between the two schools that was formally played in Kingsport, Tenn. on five occasions in the late 1990s.
"This was a great tradition between these programs and we thought this would be a great time to bring this back," Hughes said. "These are two teams with similar fan bases, so it should be a fun event."
The Atlantic Coast Conference will begin league play the weekend of March 8-10 and the Hokies will again be tested as they open with tournament champion Georgia Tech in Blacksburg, one of four NCAA teams that will play at English Field. That includes Florida State, a College World Series participant (March 29-31), North Carolina (April 12-14) and Virginia (April 26-28), while Wake Forest also visits (May 16-18).
Tech will travel to Duke (March 15-17), Miami (March 22-24), NC State (April 5-7), Maryland (April 19-21) and Boston College (May 3-5) to round out its ACC road slate.
The ACC Championship is scheduled for May 22-26 in Durham, N.C. The five-day tournament will be held at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the home of the triple-AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The entire 2013 Virginia Tech baseball schedule can be viewed here.
For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Baseball).