The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team will play 22 home games in 2012 and will take part in four invitational tournaments as part of the team's regular-season schedule announced today.
The defending Southern Conference champion Lady Mocs will play nonconference games against teams from some of the top leagues in the nation, including the Southeastern Conference, ACC and Big Ten.
"Every year, we try to put together a schedule that is going to challenge us and make our team stronger for the conference stretch," UTC head coach Frank Reed said. "This schedule provides our student-athletes a taste of playing competition like we could see heading in the postseason and regionals, which is the bar that has been set. We are playing teams that we could see down the line."
UTC opens the season with five games in Clermont, Fla., at the National Training Center Invitational beginning Feb. 10 with games against Florida A&M and Alabama A&M. The Lady Mocs will return to Florida for the USF The Game Tournament from March 16-18 in Clearwater, Fla., with games against Canisus, Hartford, Northwestern, UMass and Illinois.
Prior to the USF tournament, UTC will get a mid-week challenge with a single game at Florida State from the ACC on March 13 and a doubleheader the following day against Women's College World Series runner up Florida in Gainesville, Fla.
"It is definitely going to be a tough week," Reed saidn. "Our student-athletes are going to experience two top environments in back-to-back days, which is important to play in now, so that when you have an opportunity at regionals, then you know what to expect."
"There is definitely a different thought process in a mid-week game at their place [as opposed to playing in a tournament] and a little more intensity can be shown from both sides. The focus is on that game and not the entire tournament, your next game or the game after. You are throwing your best and trying to do what you can to win."
In addition to the two Florida tournaments, UTC will take part in the Georgia State Panther Invitational in Atlanta.
The Lady Mocs home debut will be Feb. 24 when they will host the Frost Classic. UTC will play Valpariso, Niagra, East Tennessee State, Purdue and Troy. Other teams participating in the Frost Classic are Cleveland State, Ball State, Dayton, UT-Martin and Belmont.
UTC opens Southern Conference play with a three-game series at Jim Frost Stadium against College of Charleston on March 10-11 prior to their final Florida trip, and return to conference play in earnest March 24 at Appalachian State.
The Southern Conference Tournament will be May 9-12 in Boone, N.C.
Contact Jim Tanner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6478.