Highlighting the Rockets’ slate will be four matchups against three teams that advanced to the 2013 College World Series and a total of seven contests against squads that participated in the 2013 NCAA Regionals. In addition, UT will face a team on three occasions that qualified for the 2012 CWS this spring.
“We certainly have a challenging schedule this spring,” Mee said. “But I really like our schedule because it will prepare us for league play. These games will give us a great opportunity to play against some of the top teams in the country and in some of the best venues. We’re going to find out exactly where we stand, and I think our guys are looking forward to that challenge.”
Toledo is set to square off against 2013 CWS qualifiers LSU, Louisville on two occasions and Indiana as part of its daunting non-league ledger, as well as NCAA Regional participants Valparaiso, Virginia Tech and Bowling Green. The Midnight Blue & Gold will also have a three-game series at 2012 CWS participant Kent State to open up Mid-American Conference play.
UT will play the host Tigers (Feb. 22) and the Hokies (Feb. 23) as part of the three-game LSU Tournament on Friday-Sunday, Feb. 21-23 in Baton Rouge, LA.
“What a tremendous opportunity to get to play at LSU,” Mee said. “It’s one of the best places to compete in all of college baseball. I’m excited for my team to experience what will be a great environment.”
One week later, the Rockets will travel to the Blue Grass State to take part in the Louisville Tournament on Friday-Sunday, Feb. 28-March 2. Toledo will tangle with the host Cardinals on the first and third day (Feb. 28, March 2) of the tourney, sandwiched in between a game versus the Hoosiers (March 1).
“I wanted to put together a schedule where we’re playing quality teams day-in and day-out, and we will definitely get at the Louisville Tournament,” Mee said. “My hope is that playing these types of games will raise our teams’ level of play.”
After starting the season with 21 consecutive road games, Toledo will entertain the reigning MAC Tournament champion Falcons (March 25) in its home opener, while also hosting the Crusaders (April 15) at the corner of Parkside Blvd. and Hill Ave.
Just before taking on arch-rival BGSU in a non-conference matchup, the Rockets will venture to Northeast Ohio to feud with the Golden Flashes in their league lifter (March 21-23).
As part of its 27-game league ledger, Toledo will have five home MAC weekends, consisting of Akron (March 28-30), Ball State (April 11-13), Ohio (April 18-20), Western Michigan (May 9-11) and Eastern Michigan (May 15-17). Toledo will also go on the road to face Akron (March 28-30), Miami (April 25-27) and Central Michigan (May 2-4) and KSU.
“It’s always nice to play home games,” Mee said. “Our guys are comfortable there and traditionally we’ve played very well at Scott Park. “My hope is that we take advantage of our opportunities when we play at home.”
Toledo is set to return 22 letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished with a 25-33 overall record, 13-14 in conference play, good enough for a third-place finish in the MAC West Division and a trip to the MAC tourney for a fifth straight season.
“As long as I have been at Toledo, I have preached to my team if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, and that’s how I approach scheduling,” Mee said. “I want to challenge them to be consistent and do everything possible to prepare them to win a MAC title.”