ATLANTA -- The Georgia State baseball team opens its fall slate by facing Tennessee Sunday at 2 p.m. at the LakePoint Sporting Community in Emerson, Ga., just north of Atlanta.

A new NCAA rule enacted this year allows baseball teams to play two fall exhibition games against outside competion.

The Panthers will also host Georgia Highlands College on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 12 p.m. at the GSU Baseball Complex.

Head coach Greg Frady's squad returns 19 letterwinners, led by one of the top starting pitchers in the Sun Belt Conference and the nation in junior right-hander and Friday starter Hunter Gaddis. Other top returnees include starting pitcher Jake Rogers, two-way standout Brandon Bell, first baseman Ryan Glass and outfielder Luke Leonard.

The Panthers welcome a class of 18 newcomers, of which 10 are freshmen.

"There's a lot of excitement and motivation about playing some outside competition in the fall, especially against a really good opponent like Tennessee," Frady said. "This is a great opportunity to learn a lot about our team, especially all of the newcomers."

Georgia State annually plays various Southeastern Conference foes, including Georgia, Auburn and Ole Miss in recent years, but the Panthers last faced Tennessee in 2004.

Fall practice continues through the end of October, and the Panthers will open the 2019 season by hosting the fifth annual Atlanta Challenge on the weekend of Feb. 15-17 at the GSU Baseball Complex.