GREENSBORO, N.C. – The defending Southern Conference Champion UNC Greensboro softball program released its 2019 regular season schedule Monday. The Spartans will play 27 home games at UNCG Softball Stadium, including two home tournaments and matchups against NC State, North Carolina and Louisiana, and road games against the reigning NCAA National Champions Florida State and SEC member South Carolina.
The Spartans are coming off their second-ever NCAA Regional Appearance with the highest winning percentage (.780) in program history with a 46-13 overall record. UNCG swept both Southern Conference Titles, winning the conference tournament and the regular season outright for the first time. The 2019 squad returnees include All-SoCon First-Team selections Jasmine Palmer and Marisa Sholtes and second-teamers Stephanie Bryden and Makenna Matthijs.
“I want to encourage all UNCG fans to come out and support this group of young ladies at our beautiful stadium,” said UNCG head coach Janelle Breneman. “There isn’t a bad seat. Our young ladies in addition to being talented on the field are some of the hardest working and dedicated student on this campus. We set a program record of a 3.62 GPA as a team last season in addition to one of our most successful seasons to date. Come out and support us this spring, I promise you will like what you see. Go Spartans!”
“This past fall season we showed fight and a competitive fire that to me are two very important qualities,” said Breneman. “We battled until the last pitch and had a few come from behind wins, which is a testament to our mind set. This spring we will be a more seasoned team than the fall, but we will continue to build on our strengths and gain experience with each practice and each competition.”
Heading South to Start the Year: JoAnne Graf Classic (Feb. 8-10) and Gamecock Invitational (Feb. 15-16)
The Spartans open the season at Florida State’s home tournament, the JoAnne Graf Classic. UNCG will play Iowa State, who the Spartans beat last year, and UNCW twice. UNCG will play Florida State on the second day at 2:30 p.m.
The following weekend, the Spartans will play in the Gamecock Invitational at the same site of their NCAA Regional. They’ll play St. John’s twice along with South Carolina and Ohio, who both made the NCAA Regionals last year. The Gamecocks advanced all the way to the NCAA Super Regionals.
“I believe our 2019 schedule will immediately test our Spartan squad,” said UNCG head coach Janelle Breneman. “Opening in Tallahassee, Fla., at the JoAnne Graf Classic is an exciting as it gets! We have the opportunity to play a very competitive weekend schedule in a beautiful stadium which includes the 2018 National Champions. On the road you are always challenged in different ways, but I feel certain we will be prepared and eager to play ball and take the field in Florida and South Carolina.”
The Start of Home Play: Oakland (Feb. 19), Charlotte (Feb. 20), UNCG Invitational (Feb. 22-24)
UNCG plays its first game at UNCG Softball Stadium against Oakland and faces Charlotte at home the next day. That weekend, the Spartans will host the annual UNCG Invitational. Longwood, Iona and Northern Kentucky will be the three participants alongside UNCG. Last year the Lancers finished 57th in the final RPI rankings with a 38-16 record. After the Spartans play all three schools, there will be seeded games based on their tournament records (#1 versus #4, #2 versus #3) on Saturday afternoon followed by the consolation and championship games on Sunday.
“We will certainly be thrilled to play two tournaments at home and some great mid-week match-ups,” said Breneman. “We have an amazing field and stadium and love to see our parents and loyal supporters in the stands. Our fans will be treated to exciting softball competition all season long.”
A Trip to Chapel Hill and a Road Doubleheader: Carolina Classic (March 1-3), Presbyterian (March 6)
UNCG heads east on I-40 to play in North Carolina’s Carolina Classic. The Spartans will square off against Big 10 member Maryland for the second time ever, Florida Atlantic (81st RPI in 2018) for the first time, Fairfield and George Washington, who won a program-record 33 games last year.
UNCG travels south to Presbyterian for a weekday doubleheader. The Spartans swept the Blue Hose in the three-game series last season.
Staying in North Carolina, Home and Away: Spartan Classic (March 8-10), North Carolina A&T (March 13), Elon (March 16-17)
The annual Spartan Classic will feature Sacred Heart, Saint Peter’s, last year’s participant Towson (42-19 last season) and Delaware. The Spartans will play the Tigers twice and the other three schools just once.
Up next will be four games against local rivals. UNCG will make the three-mile trip to play North Carolina A&T. The Spartans own a 44-2 record against the Aggies and have won 15-straight in the series. Over the weekend UNCG will host a doubleheader Saturday against Elon with a return trip to close out the three-game series Sunday. The Spartans took the series last year by winning at home and splitting a road doubleheader.
Home SoCon Matchups: Samford (March 23-24), Western Carolina (April 13-14), ETSU (May 4-5)
UNCG kicks off SoCon play at home against Samford and will also host Western Carolina and ETSU in conference action. The ETSU series will be the regular season finale. The Spartans won all three series against the three schools, including sweeps against the Catamounts and Bucs. Last year the Spartans owned the top SoCon home record (6-2).
Road SoCon Matchups: Chattanooga (March 30-31), Furman (April 6-7), Mercer (April 27-28)
UNCG travels to Chattanooga, Furman and Mercer after hosting the three SoCon schools last year. The Spartans swept Furman by a combined score of 27-1, including a 22-0 five inning win, won the series against the Mocs and split versus the Bears in a series shortened by rain.
ACC Schools, a National Powerhouse and Winthrop come to Greensboro: NC State (April 3), Louisiana (April 16), North Carolina (April 24), Winthrop (May 1)
Two in-state ACC schools will come to Greensboro in 2019: NC State and North Carolina. Last season, the Spartans won the series on the road against both schools, defeating the Tar Heels 4-3 in 10 innings and taking two of the three against the Wolfpack. The series-clinching win at NC State was by a dominant score of 24-2, the most runs allowed ever by the Wolfpack in program history.
UNCG will face Louisiana for the first time ever during its SoCon bye week. The Ragin’ Cajuns have finished ranked in one of the national polls each of the past 11 seasons (2008-18) and 26 times in the past 29 seasons (1990-2018). Winthrop will be the last non-conference game of the regular season.
Trips to App State and South Carolina: Appalachian State (April 10), South Carolina (April 19-20)
UNCG will head to Boone, N.C., to play a doubleheader against Appalachian State. The Spartans swept the three-game series against the Mountaineers last year. UNCG will spend Easter weekend with another trip to Columbia, S.C., to play games on Friday and Saturday against the Gamecocks.
SoCon Tournament: May 8-11
The 2019 SoCon Tournament will be hosted by Chattanooga. The Spartans swept its three games against ETSU (twice) and Chattanooga last year to win the tournament championship in front of their fans at UNCG Softball Stadium.
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