Winkler, Bucs announce 2018 softball schedule

Winkler, Bucs announce 2018 softball schedule

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Three home tournaments in February, one tournament at the University of Tennessee, and home conference matchups against Longwood, Campbell, and Radford highlight the 2017 Charleston Southern softball schedule as announced by head coach Shane Winkler on Thursday afternoon.

"I'm excited to announce our 2018 schedule," Winkler said. "We are taking advantage of being located in one of the best locations in the country with 34 home games including playing our first 17 games at Buccaneer Field."

The Bucs roster features a young team with 13 underclassmen and eight upperclassmen. Right-handed pitcher Nicole Ayala and infielder Laina Holmgren are the two returning seniors for CSU, while 2016 Big South All-Conference First Team selection Jade Gandara returns for the Bucs.

"We have a young team this year and our balanced schedule with games against teams from a wide range of conferences will definitely prepare us for what promises to be a very competitive Big South schedule," Winkler said."

CSU will open the 2017 season with a home tournament against North Carolina A&T, North Dakota and Towson on Feb. 9-11. The Bucs then host Eastern Kentucky, Valparaiso and North Carolina Central in a tournament on Feb. 16-18. CSU hosts St. Bonaventure, George Mason and Hartford to round out the home tournament schedule on Feb. 23-25.

After playing host all of February, the Buccaneers will travel to the University of Tennessee for a tournament at the 2016 NCAA Super Regional host Volunteers. The Bucs last made a trip to Knoxville when they participated in the 2014 NCAA Regional. CSU will face South Alabama, Tennessee and Toledo in the tournament on March 2-4.

The Bucs open conference play at Winthrop on March 16 and will remain on the road with a game at Coastal Carolina on March 21. CSU returns home for a meeting with 2017 Big South Championship winner Longwood on March 24-25. The Buccaneers then hit the road for a game at local rival College of Charleston on March 27. CSU hosts the Cougars later in the season on April 17.

Charleston Southern faces a difficult stretch in the schedule at 2017 Big South regular season champion Liberty on April 20-21. The Bucs play at South Carolina on May 2 before returning home for a matchup with Radford to close the regular season on May 4-5.

Radford will host the top six seeds in the 2018 Big South Tournament on May 9-12.

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