The Chattanooga Lady Mocs softball team announced its 2014 schedule Wednesday morning — a slate that includes three top 25 teams from 2013, three NCAA Regional participants and one that advanced the Super Regional.
“It’s going to be a fun and challenging schedule,” said UTC head coach Frank Reed, whose squad struggled to a 26-28 record a season ago. “We have some big trips planned and we’re going to be facing a lot of great teams.”
The Lady Mocs will also play in six tournaments on the season, including the 2014 Southern Conference Championship.
Chattanooga kicks off the season in Orlando, Fla., at the UCF Knights Invitational Tournament. The Lady Mocs’ season opener will be against the Fordham Rams on Feb. 11, and they’ll also meet up with South Dakota, Long Island, Kansas and hosting Knights.
After that UTC heads out west for the UNLV Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., for a three-day tourney that includes opponents Boise State, BYU, Nevada-Reno, No. 9 Oregon and Ohio State.
The Lady Mocs returns to Chattanooga to host the annual Frost Classic at Warner Park. The 10-team tournament features visits from Ohio, Radford, Toledo, Northwestern and Butler, along with in-state rivals Tennessee Tech, Austin Peay and Middle Tennessee State University.
UTC wraps up its tournament schedule with trips to Gulfport, Miss., for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic, and Clearwater, Fla., for the USF Under Armour Invitational.
“We looked at last season’s schedule and decided we needed to come home that week instead of staying on the road,” Reed said. “Last year’s spring break trip drained us going into Furman, and we don’t want to do that going into Appalachian State just for a few extra non-conference games.”
The Lady Mocs start the regular season March 12 in Clarksville, Tenn., with a doubleheader at Austin Peay, and they open SoCon play March 15 at Appalachian State.
Lipscomb visits Chattanooga for a midweek matchup on March 20 before the Lady Mocs host Furman for a three-game series, before heading to UNC Greensboro the following weekend.
The Southern Conference Tournament is set for May 7-10, but a site for the event has not yet been decided. Originally planned to be playing in Burlington, N.C., Elon’s recent announcement to leave the SoCon made the Phoenix ineligible to host the event.
Frost Stadium hosts the annual Blue & Gold Game Saturday at 11 a.m. with a free RBI Club-sponsored picnic for all in attendance.
“Blue and Gold weekend is always fun,” Reed said. “We always have it the weekend of Homecoming and we always have a great turnout. It’s great to incorporate the softball game into the Homecoming festivities, giving fans a chance to come watch some softball and eat before going over to Finley for the football game.”
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