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TTU softball schedule begins with four tournaments, features 30 familiar opponents

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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Of the 32 teams listed on Tennessee Tech’s 2012 softball schedule, the Golden Eagles have faced 30 in years past and have piled up 417 all-time victories against them.

Head coach Tory Acheson hopes his program’s winning trend against those friendly rivals continues as his squad embarks on a 57-game slate this spring, including 21 homes games, four early season tournaments and two new opponents.

Tech’s schedule gets underway Feb. 10-12 at a tournament hosted by Florida State. The first game on the schedule is against Mississippi on Friday, Feb. 10. That game will be followed by Tech’s first-ever meeting with Stephen F. Austin, one of two first-time foes, and a contest with host Florida State.

After that, the Golden Eagles continue tourney play for the next three weekends. The first stop is at the University of Georgia Bulldog Invitational (Feb. 17-19) to face Buffalo, Winthrop, Connecticut, Western Illinois and host Georgia.

Tech plays at the Frost Classic in Chattanooga (Feb. 24-26) against Cleveland State, Dayton, Belmont, Troy and Ball State, and finishes tourney action at Georgia Tech’s Buzz Classic (March 2-4) when it faces Georgia State, UNC Greensboro, Southeastern Louisiana and Kennesaw State.

“We’ve put together another very challenging non-conference schedule playing some highly ranked teams,” Acheson said. “Playing that kind of team early in the season will help us prepare for our OVC schedule.

“Some of the highlights include Florida State, which is in the Top 25, Ole Miss, which is a tough SEC team, and Georgia, which will be Top 10,” Acheson said. “We also have several lesser-know teams that are also very strong. It’s definitely a very challenging, very competitive schedule.”

The home schedule gets underway on Tuesday, March 6, with a doubleheader against IPFW, the other first-time foe for the Golden Eagles. Those games start a stretch in which Tech hosts nine of the next 13 games.  

Back to the 30 teams Tech is already familiar with, including several who could be considered among the team’s biggest rivals.  In all, Tech softball teams have compiled a 417-245 all-time mark against the teams who will occupy the other dugout this spring.

In addition to the nationally ranked foes and the OVC slate, Tech will face four familiar regional opponents who have developed a healthy rivalry with the Golden Eagles. That list includes non-conference games against Belmont, Western Kentucky, UT Chattanooga and East Tennessee.

“We always try to include the nearby schools that are a good fit for our scheduling,” Acheson said.

Once conference play gets underway, Tech will host three-game weekend sets against UT Martin, Southeast Missouri, Murray State and SIU Edwardsville.  Tech also hosts an OVC doubleheader with Jacksonville State and a single game against Eastern Kentucky.

Conference road trips include three-game series at Austin Peay, Tennessee State, Eastern Illinois and Morehead State, a doubleheader at EKU and a single game at JSU.

The OVC tournament will be held May 10-12 at the site of the regular season league champion, with the winner advancing to the NCAA Regional, May 17-19.