CHARLESTON, S.C. – Three home tournaments in February, two tournaments at the University of Hawaii and home conference matchups against Liberty, Gardner-Webb and Winthrop highlight the 2017 Charleston Southern softball schedule as announced by head coach Shane Winkler on Wednesday afternoon.
"I'm excited about the release of our 2017 schedule," said Winkler. "We will be tested throughout the preseason, highlighted by our trip to Hawaii, in order to prepare us for a demanding Big South schedule."
2017 Charleston Southern Softball Schedule
The Bucs roster features a fairly balanced mix of 14 upperclassmen and 12 underclassmen, including six players from the 2014 Big South Championship run that earned the program's first berth into the NCAA postseason. Seniors Ashtin Kullnat, Stephanie Bergmann, Georgi DeLio, Lexie Vanada, Brittany McPherson, Stevi Johnson and 2016 Big South All-Conference Second Team selection Amanda Matsumoto will return to lead CSU's 2017 roster.
"We have a group in place that is ready to compete for a Big South Regular Season and Tournament Championship," Winkler said. "The last time we had this much senior leadership, we made a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and our senior class is ready to make a push for a return trip this spring."
CSU will open the 2017 season with a doubleheader at Savannah State, followed by three consecutive home tournaments in the month of February. The Buccaneers will see some tough competition early on as they host last year's No.11-ranked Missouri in their February 10 season-opener.
"I'm looking forward to hosting so many quality programs during our three home tournaments," Winkler said. "Our opening weekend will be one of the toughest fields in the country as we host Missouri, James Madison and Upstate. Things won't get any easier in our next two home tourneys as we'll continue to welcome top programs from around the country."
After playing host all of February, the Buccaneers will travel to the University of Hawaii for the first time in the program's history as they compete in the 2017 Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament (March 3-5) and the Hawaii Spring Fling Tournament (March 8-12).
The Buccaneers will open conference play at home against the Liberty Flames on March 17 and will remain home for their next conference contest against Gardner-Webb the weekend of March 25. The following week, CSU will remain on their own turf as they look for their first win since 2013 against local rival College of Charleston.
CSU will also clash with last season's No. 24-ranked South Carolina as they take on the Gamecocks in a doubleheader in Columbia on April 18.
An April 15 doubleheader against Winthrop marks CSU's last home game of the 2017 season and the Buccaneers will wrap up play on the road with matchups at Longwood and Campbell.
Reigning Big South Champion Longwood University will host the top six seeds in Farmville, Virginia for the Big South Tournament on May 10-13.