ATLANTA- Seeking a fourth straight trip to postseason play, the Georgia State baseball team will tackle a formidable 2012 56-game schedule that features five teams who competed in last year's NCAA tournament, three of whom finished inside the RPI top-20.

The Panthers will play five in-state opponents, taking on city rival Georgia Tech in a home-and-home two-game stint and locking up once with Georgia in Athens. GSU will also battle in-state foes Kennesaw State and Mercer multiple times and adds Savannah State into the mix.

Georgia State is slated to play 29 home games at the Panthersville baseball complex during the year.

GSU adds a host of additional tests to the schedule, including Austin Peay and Stetson, NCAA tournament teams from a year ago.

The Panthers will play all 10 Colonial Athletic Association opponents once again this season, each in a three-game series, for 30 games.

"This schedule will be one of the most difficult and challenging of my tenure as coach at Georgia State," head coach Greg Frady says. "We've added some new tests, continue series with the top teams in the state and have our traditional conference foes who always present a challenge.

"This schedule definitely challenges our team and the early-season slate will certainly prepare us for conference play," Frady adds. "Our fans should have a great interest in coming out to see us face these tests."

Frady's squad kicks off its season with a four-game home set Feb. 17-19 against Western Illinois of the Summit League. The Panthers welcome the Leathernecks to Atlanta for the second straight season, having taken three of four games from WIU last year.

GSU then makes the hour-long trek to Athens for a Feb. 22 battle with UGA, its fourth matchup with the Bulldogs under Frady. The Panthers dropped a 13-9 slugfest at Foley Field in 2009 in the teams' most recent meeting. Last year, the Bulldogs reached the NCAA Tournament as an at-large selection, finishing the season with an RPI of 16.

The Panthers will return home Feb. 24-26 to host a three game series with Austin Peay, an Ohio Valley Conference team that defeated Georgia Tech in the opening game of the NCAA tournament before eventually falling in the Atlanta regional.

GSU's tough early season continues with a round-robin invitational March 2-4 at Stetson, a squad that earned a number two seed in the NCAA tournament and finished with an RPI of 20. The Panthers will also face Penn and Southern Illinois over three days in DeLand, Fla.

March 7 brings one of the fan highlights of the 2012 schedule as GSU plays host to perennial power and crosstown rival Georgia Tech in Panthersville. It is the first of two games against the Yellow Jackets on the year as the Panthers will travel to Russ Chandler Stadium later in the season. Frady guided the GSU squad to its third victory in five years over a ranked Tech team last season in the Jackets' home park, defeating then-#23 Tech, 6-3. The Jackets finished with an RPI of 10 on the year after falling in the regional round of the NCAA tournament.

GSU will face another strong local foe in Kennesaw State March 9-11, playing a three-game series against the Owls that features one game in Panthersville and two at the Owls' Stillwell Stadium. KSU finished last year with an RPI of 95 and is one of seven RPI top-100 teams from last season that the Panthers will face in 2012.

GSU continues its in-state tour with a trip to Mercer March 14, the first of two midweek matchups on the year against the Bears, the most common opponent in Panther baseball history. The teams have met 101 times since 1970.

Colonial Athletic Association play begins for Georgia State March 16, when the Panthers start a home series with Northeastern. The Panthers took two of three games last year against the Huskies in Brookline, Mass., helping GSU position itself for another CAA postseason berth.

Defending CAA champion James Madison then visits Panthersville March 23-25 for one of the most highly anticipated series of the year. Last season, the Panthers earned their first-ever series victory over the eventual conference champs with a Sunday grand slam for a 2-1 series win. JMU earned a measure of revenge in the CAA tournament, handing the Panthers their only shutout loss of the year and the first of two defeats to end GSU's season. JMU went on to finish with an RPI of 48- the highest of any CAA team- after two wins in the NCAA tournament.

GSU then hits the road for conference series at George Mason (March 30-April 1) and Hofstra (April 6-8), teams the Panthers went a combined 5-1 against last year.

William & Mary visits Atlanta April 13-15, then the Panthers make their trip to Russ Chandler Stadium to tangle with the Yellow Jackets once again April 17.

GSU resumes CAA play by traveling to Towson April 20-22, a team the Panthers swept a year ago to open conference play.

The Panthers will take on UNCW at home for the first time since 2007 when the Seahawks visit Panthersville April 27-29. UNCW qualified for yet another CAA tournament last season- having done so each year since the conference's founding in 1986- and finished 100th in the final RPI rankings. GSU's first CAA championship came by defeating the Seahawks on their home field in the 2009 league title game, 12-10.

GSU will begin the final month of the regular season with a trip to The Diamond to face VCU May 4-6, locking up with the Rams for the first time in Richmond since a wild 14-14 tie between the teams in 2009.

Frady's club hosts its final home series May 11-13, welcoming the Delaware Blue Hens to Panthersville. GSU has won three of five series against UD since joining the CAA, but dropped two of three games in Newark, Del., last year.

The Panthers' last series of the regular season will see GSU travel to Norfolk, Va. to face Old Dominion May 17-19. The Monarchs ended GSU's campaign last year at the CAA tournament, eliminating the Panthers by a 7-3 score on the tournament's second day.

This season, James Madison's three-year-old Veterans Memorial Park will host its first-ever CAA championship, May 23-26. The tournament field will expand back to six teams, as it was played until 2009. GSU's 2-1 series win over the Dukes in April of last season amounts for its only three games ever played in the ballpark.

The Panthers went 37-21 a year ago in reaching the CAA tournament for the fourth time in coach Frady's five seasons. The Panthers finished with an RPI of 119- third-highest in the CAA- out of 300 Division I programs.

Three all-conference players- Brandon Williams (first-team 1B), Drew Shields (second-team DH) and Jake Dyer (third-team reliever)- return in 2012 to anchor the squad. Right-hander Justin Malone, who owns GSU's highest career winning percentage among qualifying pitchers and the school's all-time saves mark, returns for his senior season.

During the 2012 season, the Panthers will also play midweek contests with Monmouth, Alabama State, USC Upstate and UNC Asheville.