CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Charleston Southern softball team will take on opponents from coast to coast this season with trips to Long Beach, Calif. and Gainesville, Fla. on tap as head coach Shane Winkler released the schedule on Tuesday morning.
30 of the Lady Bucs' 56 scheduled games come inside the friendly confines of Buccaneer Field where Charleston Southern went 17-8 last season. Their road portion includes a trip across country to the Long Beach State Invitational, a trip to the Florida Lipton Invitational and a local tournament hosted by the College of Charleston at Patriots Point.
"It's nice to be able to play more than half of our games at home and with all the renovations that we have done this offseason," said Winkler on the friendly home schedule. "We are looking forward to welcoming some big name programs to Charleston as we'll be competing against Tennessee and Mississippi State on our home field."
Charleston Southern will take on opponents from 10 different NCAA Division I conferences in the 2013 season, with 25 Big South games, 10 games against the Southern Conference, six against the Southeastern Conference and three apiece against the Colonial and the Big West. The Lady Bucs will also take on opponents from the Mid-Eastern Atlantic, Horizon, Pacific Coast, Pacific 12 and Metro Atlantic conferences during the season.
"I'm extremely excited about our 2013 schedule. We are once again going to challenge our group with a very demanding schedule that I believe will get us ready to compete for a Big South Championship," commented Winkler on the schedule. "Anytime you can have six SEC games on your slate with three of those games coming at home you know it's going to be a test."
Winkler enters his fifth season as the head coach of the Lady Buccaneers after guiding the program to arguably their best season in school history. CSU established program bests with 12 Big South wins and 33 overall victories, coming within one win of its first NCAA Tournament bid after making it to the Big South Championship Game for the first time since 1988.
In 2012, Charleston Southern defeated high-profile opponents South Carolina and Notre Dame last season, while pitcher Morgan Dowdy set a single-season CSU record with 165 strikeouts in earning a spot on the Big South's All-Conference Second Team. Left fielder Jana Matthews also earned All-Conference honors after finishing the year with six home runs and a team-high 33 RBIs.
"We have a veteran group back and it's going to be fun to see them rise to the challenge of playing some of the best programs in the Nation," commented Winkler on the team's outlook on the season. "The Big South will once again be up for grabs and we're looking forward to taking that last big step forward and bringing home a championship this season."
The Lady Bucs open the 2013 season at home as Charleston Southern hosts George Mason on back-to-back days on February 8-9 at Buccaneer Field. CSU finishes up the opening weekend with a home game on the 9th against UNC Greensboro.
CSU begins their first road trip of the 2013 season taking on local rival College of Charleston at Patriots Point on February 13th for a doubleheader.
The road trip begins a span of 11 consecutive games on the road as the Lady Bucs travel to Gainesville, Fla. for the Florida Lipton Invitational and then returning to Charleston, S.C. for the College of Charleston Cougar Classic.
CSU will be in Gainesville from February 15-17 where the Lady Bucs will take on Western Carolina (twice), Savannah State, UNC Wilmington and host Florida. At the Cougar Classic on February 24-25, CSU will take on Radford, South Carolina (twice) and host College of Charleston over the two-day tournament.
The Lady Bucs return home at the beginning of March as CSU welcomes Tennessee (twice), UNC Wilmington and Valparaiso (twice) to Buccaneer Field from March 1-3 before returning to the road as Charleston Southern travels out west for Spring Break.
CSU takes on Cal State Fullerton on March 8th before taking part in the Long Beach State Mayfair Invitational from March 9-11. The Lady Bucs will take on UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Idaho State, UCLA and Bethune-Cookman at the tournament over the three-day span.
An 11 game home stand welcomes Charleston Southern back to Buccaneer Field as CSU takes on Appalachian State on March 13 and Mississippi State on March 15, before opening Big South Conference play with three-game weekends against Longwood (March 16-17) and Winthrop (March 23-24). CSU closes out the stand with a doubleheader against the College of Charleston on March 26.
CSU returns to the road at the end of the month as the Lady Bucs take on Radford to close out March with the three-game series in Radford, Va. starting on March 29.
Charleston Southern remains in conference play on April 2 for a doubleheader against Coastal Carolina at home, before taking a break on conference play against Canisius in the final non-conference doubleheader in the season on April 3.
The Lady Bucs finish out the season in Big South competition, hosting Liberty (April 6-7), traveling to Campbell (April 12-13) and Coastal Carolina (April 16), hosting Gardner-Webb (April 20-21), before finishing the regular season on the road in Clinton, S.C. against Presbyterian on May 4-5.
Winthrop hosts the Big South Conference tournament from May 9-12 in Rock Hill, S.C., while the NCAA Regionals are set for May 17-19. NCAA Super Regionals will run from May 24-26 and the 2013 NCAA Women's College World Series will take place May 30-June 5 in Oklahoma City.