FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A season-opening series at 2009 national champion LSU and 29 games at the newly renovated Wake Forest Baseball Park highlight the 2011 schedule, as announced on Tuesday by head coach Tom Walter.
The Deacs will again face one of the toughest schedules in the country in 2011, playing 28 games against teams that advanced to the 2010 NCAA Tournament. In Atlantic Coast Conference play, the Demon Deacons open with seven straight series against teams that reached the postseason last year.
Wake Forest will play 29 of its 55 games at the friendly confines of Wake Forest Baseball Park. The park has undergone significant renovations since the end of the 2010 season with the installation of a new synthetic playing field and a new outfield wall.
Wake Forest will face a stern test in the season’s opening weekend, traveling to perennial power LSU for a three-game series February 18-20. The Tigers have won six national championships in program history and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 23 of the last 26 seasons. The Deacs will also play a single game against Coach Walter’s previous team, New Orleans, on the season’s opening weekend.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back down in that area,” Walter said. “LSU will be a great measuring stick for how far we’ve come in the past year. We felt good at the end of last year with the momentum we gained down the stretch and the way we played. Certainly, this fall we’ve been playing well and we’ve added an influx of talent to our ball club. LSU will be a good gauge for us to see how far we’ve come. We know we have deficiencies that will show up at LSU and that will give us a good idea of where we need to be before conference play starts.”
Following the first weekend of the year, Wake Forest returns home for a season-long, 12-game homestand. The home opener takes place on February 22 when Wake hosts Western Carolina.
Wake Forest will host home tournaments on both the second and third weekend of the season. The Demon Deacons will welcome 2010 NCAA Tournament team Minnesota, Northwestern and Georgetown to town February 25-27. The following weekend, Wake will host Fordham, Towson and Radford at Wake Forest Baseball Park.
“The teams coming in for the two weekend tournaments will provide a great early season challenge,” Walter said. “Those teams will have Wake Forest circled on their schedule as one of their premium games. We’ll probably see the number one pitcher from all six of those clubs.
“Playing at home early in the year makes a lot of sense for us because of the turf. In the early going, when weather is still not a guarantee as it will be later in March and April, it’s nice to get as many games in on the turf as you can.”
The Deacs will face a challenging slate of midweek non-conference games in 2011. Wake has home-and-home series scheduled with 2010 NCAA Tournament participant Elon, while also playing a home-and-home series with Charlotte, High Point, UNC Greensboro and Winthrop. The Demon Deacons will also play single games against Appalachian State (March 29 in Hickory), 2010 NCAA Super Regional team Coastal Carolina (March 9), East Carolina (May 11 in Raleigh) and Marshall (May 17).
“Certainly, from a midweek standpoint, I think we have a very competitive schedule,” Walter said. “I don’t think there are any easy games on our midweek schedule. Adding a neutral site game against East Carolina is a big game for us. I think our non-conference schedule will help us carry a great RPI.”
Wake Forest opens the rugged 30-game Atlantic Coast Conference schedule on March 11-13 when it hosts North Carolina. The Deacs will also host Miami (March 18-20), Virginia Tech (April 8-10), Georgia Tech (April 15-17) and Boston College (May 6-8) in league play.
The Deacs hit the road for the first time in ACC play the weekend of March 25-27 at 2010 College World Series participant Florida State. Other ACC road series in 2011 include trips to NC State (April 1-3), 2010 College World Series team Clemson (April 22-24), Duke (May 13-15) and Maryland (May 19-21).
“Our league schedule is always going to be challenging,” Walter continued. “There are no easy weekends. The good news is that we get North Carolina, Miami, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Boston College all at home. I think our schedule favors us to have some of the perennial powers at home this year. There’s always going to be tough weekends on the road too. Being at Florida State and at Clemson, two teams that made the College World Series last year, is no easy task.”
Wake Forest will not face Virginia in the regular season for the second straight year. The Cavaliers will return to the regular season schedule in 2012.
The 2011 ACC Baseball Tournament will be played May 25-29 in Durham, N.C., at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home of the triple-A Durham Bulls.
The NCAA Regionals will occur June 3-6 and the Super Regionals will be held June 10-13, both taking place at campus sites throughout the country. The College World Series will be contested for the first time at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., June 18-29.