The Citadel releases 2013 baseball schedule

CHARLESTON, S.C. (CIT) --{}The Citadel head coach Fred Jordan has announced the 2013 baseball schedule, a slate that includes 31 home games and 15 contests against schools that qualified for the 2012 NCAA tournament.

The schedule includes the traditional home-and-home series against South Carolina (March 19 in Charleston and April 9 in Columbia) and road contests against perennial ACC powers Georgia Tech (March 26) and North Carolina (May 1).

The Bulldogs will also face Big South champion Coastal Carolina (April 2 in Charleston and April 3 in Conway) and Southern Conference home series against NCAA qualifiers Samford (March 8-10), Appalachian State (April 19-21) and College of Charleston (May 10-12).

Appalachian State and College of Charleston tied for the SoCon regular season title while Samford won the conference tournament championship to gain the automatic NCAA bid.

The Citadel also welcomes former Bulldog third baseman and Hall of Famer Tony Skole when he brings his East Tennessee State team to Riley Park for a non-conference game on April 17 and play four games against city rival Charleston Southern (Feb. 27 and March 23 in Ladson and March 22 and 24 at Riley Park).

"We are extremely excited about our 2013 schedule. It is very challenging with seven opponents that were in the NCAA tournament as well as 30 conference games in a highly-competitive league," said Jordan, who is entering his 22nd season as head coach at his alma mater.

The season Feb. 15-17 begins with The Citadel Memorial Challenge presented by the Charleston Crab House with George Mason, Kansas State and High Point rounding out the field for the annual event. The Bulldogs will host Pittsburgh, Virginia Commonwealth and UNC Asheville the weekend of March 1-3.

The series with Samford opens SoCon play for the Bulldogs. The other conference home weekends includes matchups with Elon (April 5-7) and Davidson (May 3-5). The Citadel will play SoCon series on the road at Wofford (March 15-17), Western Carolina (March 29-31), Georgia Southern (April 12-14), Furman (April 26-28) and UNC Greensboro (May 16-18).

The SoCon tournament will take place May 22-26 at Flour Field in Greenville.

The Citadel returns seven position starters and pitchers who combined to start 51 of 58 games a year ago. Catcher Joe Jackson is the Bulldogs' leading returning hitter after batting .279 with a team-high 15 doubles and four triples a year ago while Austin Pritcher heads up the rotation after winning six games and leading the starting pitching staff with a 3.19 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 2012.

The Bulldogs finished the 2012 season with a record of 25-33 including a win over the College of Charleston in the opening round of the SoCon tournament. The Citadel is seeking its first conference title since winning the regular season and tournament crowns in 2010.