Nov. 7, 2012
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Ten 2012 NCAA regional participants and four tournaments highlight the 2013 Southern Miss softball schedule, announced by co-head coaches Jon Malgradi and Kirsten Voak today.
"We have put together an incredibly tough but exciting schedule for our program this season," said Voak. "It is our belief as coaches that if you want to be the best, you have to play, compete with and hopefully beat the best. There are a lot of extremely talented, but young players on this team and they are going to be tested right from the start."
The schedule gets going quick as the team will play their first nine games away from home with a doubleheader at Cal-State Fullerton (20-31 in 2012) set for Feb. 7. Following that, the team will head north to Fresno State where they will take part in a three-day tournament against UC Davis (24-28), UC Riverside (25-28), Sacramento State (27-19) and host Fresno State (36-23) before coming back across the country with a stop in Waco, Texas to take on their first NCAA regional participant in Baylor (34-22).
From Feb. 15-17, the Golden Eagles will host their first of two tournaments in 2013 when they welcome Jacksonville State (28-28) and Sam Houston State (29-21) in a three-team event.
After a midweek doubleheader at Ole Miss (22-32) at Feb. 20, Southern Miss hosts Northwestern State (19-31) and Louisiana Tech (25-33) for another three-team tournament in Hattiesburg.
Tournament play continues for the Golden Eagles when they travel to Tallahassee for a tough tournament with NCAA participant Florida State (47-16) hosting Appalachian State (22-25) and Troy (31-24) on March 1-3.
Conference USA play begins the following weekend as the Golden Eagles host Houston at the Southern Miss Softball Complex. The team will alternate home and away conference trips for the next three weeks, heading to Marshall (March 16-17), hosting UTEP (March 23-24) and going to UAB (March 29-30). A five game homestand follows when Southern Miss hosts Troy for a midweek doubleheader (April 2) followed by C-USA rival Memphis (April 6-7).
Malgradi and Voak penciled in the toughest stretch of their schedule beginning the second week of April when the team will play five NCAA regional participants in succession on the road. On April 9, Southern Miss will play Auburn (33-23) in a single game before traveling to Louisiana-Lafayette (53-6) for a doubleheader on April 10. After a five day break, the Golden Eagles travel to defending national champion Alabama (60-8) for a single game on April 16 before jumping over to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech (37-23) in a two-game series on April 18.
Following the doubleheader with the Yellowjackets, Southern Miss travels south to C-USA foe Central Florida (April 20-21) before coming home to host East Carolina in their home finale (April 27-28).
Southern Miss completes the regular season with a three-game series at Tulsa (May 4-5), which is also the host site for the C-USA Championships set for May 8-11.
"This schedule is going to test our team on all levels of play," said Malgradi. "We believe they have the ability, talent and commitment to success to return to post-season play and a tough schedule is an essential part of that."
The Golden Eagles return six letterwinners from a year ago to go along with nine true freshmen, one junior college transfer, one Division II transfer and two Division I transfers - 13 newcomers in all.