Softball Releases Competitive 2014 Schedule
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG softball head coach Janelle Breneman announced a challenging 2014 slate Tuesday that includes seven NCAA regional participants in South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Minnesota, Army, Hampton, North Carolina and Georgia Southern.
The Spartans return 10 players from last season's squad that finished with their best record since the 2003 season with a 38-19 record and welcome seven newcomers to the mix.
“The ladies are working on adjustments and are laying the ground work for our spring season,” said Breneman. “I look forward to a challenging 2014 spring schedule. Last season, I was pleased with our dedication over the Holiday break that proved to be positive. We are going to need that focus again this year as we will be tested early with opening the season at South Carolina. It is my hope that we gain experience, momentum and confidence from each outing. I want us becoming a better team heading into Southern Conference play.”
UNCG will open its season in Columbia, S.C. at the Carolina Classic Tournament from Feb. 7-9 starting with Big 10 foe Iowa Friday, Feb. 7 at 1:30 p.m. The Spartans next face Ohio Saturday, Feb. 8 at 10:30 a.m. before finishing the tournament against Presbyterian (12:30 p.m.) and tournament host South Carolina (3 p.m.). Breneman was a former assistant coach with the Gamecocks (34-24) who made the Austin, Texas regional final last season falling to No. 4 seed Texas, 6-0.
The Spartans return home for the first time to host the Triad Blue/Gold Challenge from Feb. 15-16 at the UNCG Softball Stadium. The Blue and Gold will play Virginia and Radford twice during the tournament. UNCG won in dramatic 2-1 walk-off fashion against Virginia last season at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, UNCG will host ACC foe Virginia Tech (38-20) who made the Lexington, K.Y. regional final falling to No. 12 seed Kentucky, 1-0. Last season, the Spartans lost a tough doubleheader in Blacksburg, Va. on a walkoff in the seventh inning.
Five days later, UNCG will host the UNCG Spartan Classic. The field includes three regional participants in Minnesota (36-18), Army (35-26) and Hampton (34-26). George Washington, who won 27 games, will also take part in the tournament. Each team will play five games over the weekend.
UNCG gets back on the road for the UNCW Tournament from Feb. 28 through March 2 facing Bucknell, Brown and tournament host UNC Wilmington.
The Spartans continue non-conference play with a road game at North Carolina A&T Wednesday, March 5 at 4 p.m.
UNCG then hosts Presbyterian for a doubleheader at the UNCG Softball Stadium Friday, March 7 at 3 p.m.
The Blue and Gold remains home for a 10-game home stand with Bowling Green coming to Greensboro for a doubleheader Tuesday, March 11 and a single game against Eastern Kentucky Thursday, March 13 at 2 p.m. UNCG opens Southern Conference action with two-time SoCon tournament champion Georgia Southern for a three-game series from March 15-16 at the UNCG Softball Stadium. The Eagles defeated the Spartans, 1-0, in 11 innings on a walkoff home run to win the SoCon championship.
The home slate ends with a doubleheader against ACC power North Carolina Wednesday, March 19 starting at 4 p.m.
UNCG heads to Birmingham, Ala. for its first road SoCon series against Samford March 22-23. North Carolina A&T comes to the UNCG Softball Stadium to complete the home-and-home between the two Triad schools March 26.
The Spartans next host Chattanooga in a three-game home series starting Saturday, March 29 through Sunday March 30.
The Blue and Gold head out on the road for a doubleheader against Liberty Wednesday, April 2 and a three-game road series against Furman April 5-6 in Greenville, S.C.
UNCG returns home for a non-conference doubleheader against in-state rival UNC Wilmington Wednesday, April 9 and face Western Carolina in a three-game conference series April 12-13.
The Spartans finish the non-conference slate against Charlotte Wednesday, April 16 in a doubleheader in Charlotte, N.C. UNCG also plays Appalachian State for its final road SoCon series on March 26-27 in Boone, N.C.
UNCG closes the regular season at home, hosting Elon May 3-4.
The 2014 Southern Conference Softball Championship will take place in Greensboro, N.C. Wednesday, May 7th through Saturday, May 10th. The event will be hosted on the campus of UNCG. This will be the 21st annual Southern Conference Softball Championship. All eight softball teams will participate in the championship and the winner will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA softball tournament.