GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNC Greensboro softball kicks off its 2019 season this weekend at the JoAnne Graf Classic hosted by No. 1/3 Florida State. Iowa State and UNCW are the two other participants in the tournament. Live stats but no live stream are available for each game.
-The Spartans will play five games from Friday-Sunday. UNCG opens the tournament with back-to-back games against Iowa State (10 a.m.) and UNCW (12:30 p.m.). The Spartans play UNCW again the next day at 10 a.m. followed by the host school at 12:30 p.m. and end the tournament with a 10 a.m. matchup on Sunday against the Cyclones.
Five Facts to Know
- UNCG was tabbed the Southern Conference Preseason favorite in the coaches’ poll released last Thursday.
- UNCG tied with Samford and Chattanooga for a league-high five all-conference preseason selections, but the Spartans were the only team to have four players put on the first team. Stephanie Bryden was selected the preseason pitcher of the year, and Marisa Sholtes, Jordan Gontram and Jasmine Palmer joined her on the preseason all-conference first-team. Makenna Matthijs garnered a second-team selection.
- UNCG won both the SoCon Regular Season and Tournament Championships last year for the first time in program history to make its second ever NCAA Regional Appearance. UNCG had the highest winning-percentage in program history at .780. The 46 wins are the second-most victories in a single-season in program history.
- 12 letterwinners, four position starters and three pitchers return, including 2018 All-SoCon selections in Sholtes, Palmer, Bryden and Matthijs.
- The Spartans went 14-2 against in-state opponents in 2018 by a combined score of 107-48.
A Look at the Opponents
- The reigning national champions, Florida State is the No. 1 team in the country in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) preseason poll and ranks No. 3 in the USA Softball poll. 16 players return from last year, and five were selected to the All-ACC Preseason Team.
- Iowa State went 23-33 in 2018 under first year head coach Jamie Pinkerton and were picked sixth in the Big 12 Coaches’ Preseason Poll. The Cyclones finished sixth in the Big 12 to advance to the conference postseason tournament and finished No. 75 in the final RPI rankings with the No. 27-toughest schedule.
- UNCW softball was picked to finish third in the Colonial Athletic Association Coaches’ Preseason Poll. The Seahawks return 18 letter winners from last year's team that reached the CAA Tournament with a 9-12 league record and 20-29 overall record.
Florida State: Florida State has won two of the three meetings. The last two meetings where at the beginning of the 2011 season, where Cory Mattson threw a no-hitter in nine innings for a 1-0 UNCG win.
Iowa State: The Cyclones have also won two of the three meetings. The Spartans took the previous meeting last season 2-0 in the opening tournament, the Kickin’ Chicken Classic at Coastal Carolina.
UNCW: UNCG leads the all-time series 37-15-1. With the last meeting in 2016, the Spartans are 5-1 against UNCW under Breneman.
UNCG will head to another ranked power-five school’s tournament, the Gamecock Invitational, hosted by T-No. 9/9 South Carolina next Friday and Saturday. The Spartans also take on St. John’s twice and Ohio.
-- UNCG –