The Yellow Jackets will face nine opponents that participated in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, hosting six of those teams at Russ Chandler Stadium. The Jackets posted a 26-10 record on the Flats last season.
Six of the nine NCAA participants on the schedule recorded 40 or more wins a year ago, while Florida State appeared in a Super Regional, and North Carolina and Virginia advanced to the College World Series.
“I think we’ve got a tremendously tough schedule as usual,” head coach Danny Hall said. “But I think that brings out the best in our team, and that’s why we’re working really hard right now to try to prepare for the upcoming schedule in 2012.”
Tech will open the season with a round-robin tournament at Winthrop from Feb. 17-19. Joining the Jackets and the Eagles in Rockhill, S.C., for opening weekend will be 2011 Mid-American Conference champion Kent State.
The non-conference weekend home slate begins with Ohio State Feb. 24-26, and also includes Rutgers (March 2-4) and Charlotte (May 5-6) — the reigning Atlantic 10 champion.
“We’re definitely going to get challenged in the early part of our season. You look at the first weekend and we’re on the road at Winthrop and also Kent State is there, so I feel like that’s a tremendous challenge out of the gate.
“I think by challenging ourselves early that’s going to prepare us for how we need to play in the ACC to be successful in the league.”
The Jackets will open Atlantic Coast Conference play on the road at NC State March 9-11, while also making visits to ACC opponents Boston College (March 23-25), Wake Forest (April 13-15), North Carolina (April 20-22) and Virginia (May 11-13).
Tech will host Virginia Tech, March 16-18, to begin its home conference schedule. Returning to the regular season ACC slate for the first time since 2009 will be Florida State. The Jackets and the Seminoles will square off May 6-8 at Russ Chandler Stadium. FSU replaces Maryland in the conference rotation.
“It’s great to have them [Florida State] back on the schedule. We always look forward to competing against them and we know we’re going to have to play well, year-in and year-out, against Florida State if we want to do well in the league.
“Florida State has always been not only one of the benchmark programs in our league, but a benchmark program nationally. Mike Martin, it goes without saying is one of the best coaches in the country, and one of the best coaches ever in college baseball.”
Other conference home series include Duke (March 30-April 1), Clemson (April 27-29) and Miami (May 17-19) to close out the regular season.
The mid-week schedule is filled with in-state teams, including the traditional three-game series with rival Georgia. The Jackets and the Bulldogs square off March 20 in Athens and April 24 in Atlanta, before concluding the series with the annual Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta contest at Turner Field on May 9.
Tech will also face Georgia Southern (Feb. 22, March 27-28), Mercer (Feb. 28 and April 10), Kennesaw State (Feb. 29 and April 3), Georgia State (March 7) and out-of-state opponent Wagner (March 13) in mid-week contention.
“I feel like our non-conference schedule, when you add all the state teams of Georgia, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Kennesaw State, and Mercer, add that into the mix of what we’re playing in the ACC, and I think we definitely have our hands full.”
The 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament will take place May 23-27 in Greensboro, N.C. The five-day tournament will be held at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, N.C.
The 2012 NCAA Tournament will kick off June 1-4 with regional action, to be followed by Super Regionals (June 8-11) and the College World Series (June 16-27) at TD AmeriTrade Park in Omaha, Neb.