The Chattanooga Lady Mocs softball team announced its 2014 schedule Wednesday morning. The slate features six tournaments – including the 2014 Southern Conference Championships and the annual Frost Classic at Warner Park. The schedule includes three top 25 teams from 2013, three NCAA Regional participants and a Super Regional opponent.
“It’s going to be a fun and challenging schedule,” Head Coach Frank Reed said.
“We have some big trips planned and we’re going to be facing a lot of great teams.”
Chattanooga opens its season in Orlando at the UCF Knights Invitational Tournament. UTC’s first pitch will be against the Fordham Rams, as was last year’s, Feb. 7 at 11 a.m. Chattanooga also meets up with South Dakota and Long Island before taking on the hosting Central Florida Knights and the Kansas Jayhawks to wrap up the weekend in the Sunshine State.
The Lady Mocs head out west Valentine’s Day weekend as UTC competes in the UNLV Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., for the three-day tourney. Chattanooga squares off against Boise State and BYU Feb. 14 and takes on Nevada-Reno and No. 9 Oregon the following day. The Lady Mocs close out the tournament against Ohio State.
After spending a weekend in the desert, the Lady Mocs return to Chattanooga to host the annual Frost Classic at Warner Park. The 10-team tournament features visits from Ohio, Radford, Toledo, Northwestern Sate and Butler, along with in-state rivals Tennessee Tech, Austin Peay and Middle Tennessee State University.
Chattanooga begins its home-field defense Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. against Butler and Northwestern State. Saturday’s first UTC matchup is a 4 p.m. with the Lady Mocs taking on Radford and ending with Toledo at6:30 p.m. UTC puts a cap on the weekend Sunday at 1:30 p.m. against Campbell.
Gulfport, Miss., hosts the Lady Mocs the following weekend as the team participates in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Softball Classic. Nicholls, Ohio and UTSA are on schedule before Chattanooga squares off against No. 12 Louisiana-Lafayette and No. 17 South Alabama.
Chattanooga concludes its tournament schedule with the USF Under Armour Invitational in Clearwater, Fla., March 7-9. On its second trip of the season to Florida, UTC meets with St. Joseph’s and Seaton Hall on the first day and Providence and Villanova the second day. The fifth game of the weekend comes at 9 a.m. against Western Michigan.
The Lady Mocs begin the regular season March 12 in Clarksville, Tenn., with a doubleheader against Austin Peay and open SoCon play March 15 in Boone, N.C., against Appalachian State.
“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.”
Lipscomb visits Chattanooga for a midweeker March 20 before the Mocs entertain Furman for a three-game series. UNC Greensboro hosts UTC the following weekend and Tennessee Tech travels to the Scenic City April 2 for a doubleheader.
Elon comes to Chattanooga April 5-6 for a three-game series and the Mocs travel to Birmingham, Ala., the following weekend for a series against Samford.
The Lady Mocs take a conference break as Frost Stadium hosts Middle Tennessee for two games April 18-19.
“With the College of Charleston leaving the Southern Conference, that left us with an open weekend,” Reed said. “We didn’t want to waste the weekend, and it just so happened that MTSU was looking for someone for that weekend.”
Georgia Southern hosts UTC April 26-27 before the Lady Mocs wrap up the regular season at home against Western Carolina May 3-4.
The Southern Conference Tournament is scheduled for May 7-10, but a site for the tournament has not been decided. Originally planned to be played in Burlington, N.C., Elon’s recent announcement to leave the SoCon made the Phoenix ineligible to host.
The Lady Mocs are set to play one more fall game before beginning their regular practice schedule in preparation for the 2014 season. Frost Stadium hosts the annual Blue & Gold Game Saturday at 11 a.m.with a free picnic – sponsored by the Lady Mocs Softball RBI Club – 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.”
Rosters for the game will be announced Thursday.