The month of February also features the Tennessee Valley Invitational with an excellent group of teams in Lee University, Madonna University, Georgetown College, the University of Rio Grande and Bluefield College.
The Lions will take a road trip to NAIA newcomer Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Ga. This will mark only the second time in Coach Hasty's tenure that the Lions have gone on the road for a weekend series in February.
Taylor University, a perennial top-25 team in the NAIA, will make the trip south to face the Lions in a four-game series the final weekend in February. The Trojans are led by one of the top coaches in the NAIA in Kyle Gould, and his teams are always a tough match-up for any opponent featuring a solid defense, strike throwers on the mound and a well-rounded offense.
The highlight of the mid-week schedule in February is when the Lions play host to the Bulldogs of Cumberland University. Led by NAIA wins leader, Woody Hunt, the Bulldogs are used to being at the top of the NAIA, winning it all in 2009.
The start of a tough Appalachian Athletic Conference schedule starts on the road for the Lions as they take on the Cobras of Virginia Intermont College the first weekend of March. The March conference schedule also features Avista NAIA World Series Champion Tennessee Wesleyan, Montreat College, Reinhardt University and Union College. Tennessee Wesleyan was picked to win the AAC by the coaches and Union is slated to finish 3rd. Both teams have been found in the top two spots in the conference regular season final poll in 10 out of the last 11 seasons.
The mid-week schedule in March provides no respite for the Lions as they go on the road to play Southern Polytechnic State University and Lee University, both members of the tough Southern States Athletic Conference. Southern Polytechnic was in the Avista-NAIA World Series in 2010 and Lee University just finished their 6th straight appearance to Lewiston.
The April mid-week schedule features return trips to Senter Field for Lee and Southern Polytechnic, and also sees a newcomer to Dayton. Oakwood University, a first year baseball program, will debut as an opponent for the Lions. Tennessee Temple University will host the Lions at AT&T Field in Chattanooga at the end of the month.
The Lions will round out their AAC schedule with trips to Milligan College and Point University, and will host Conference newcomer St. Andrews University. 2013 marks the first season of full conference play for Point University and for new NAIA member St. Andrews.
The Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament takes place in Kingsport, Tenn., on April 30 through May 4 and the NAIA Championship Opening Round begins May 9 at sites to be determined. The 57th annual Avista-NAIA World Series is set for May 24-31 in Lewiston, Idaho.