JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 4, 2018) – Coming off its 2017 Southern Conference Championship campaign, East Tennessee State University head softball coach Brad Irwin released the Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule on Thursday.
Playing in five non-conference tournaments – including the annual Buccaneer Classic – games with perennial Southeastern Conference powers Tennessee and Georgia and home conference series with Samford, UNCG and Western Carolina highlight the 50-game schedule for the Blue and Gold. Overall, ETSU will play teams from 13 different conferences (ASUN, Big South, CAA, Horizon League, MAC, MAAC, Missouri Valley, Patriot League, OVC, SEC, SoCon, Sun Belt and SWAC).
The Bucs will open the season playing in five non-conference tournaments, beginning Feb. 9 at the Eagle Round Robin at Georgia Southern in Statesboro. ETSU takes on Radford in the season opener, while also facing Murray State the same day. The Blue and Gold also take on Austin Peay on Feb. 10 and tournament host Georgia Southern on Feb. 11.
Following the Eagle Round Robin, the Bucs will play in four more non-conference tournaments. After heading to Spartanburg, S.C. for a pair of games on Feb. 18 (vs. Colgate and at USC Upstate), the Blue and Gold head to Athens for the Georgia Classic Tournament from Feb. 23-25. During the three-day, four-game tournament, the Bucs face Gardner-Webb, College of Charleston and tournament host/2017 NCAA participant Georgia.
After back-to-back tournaments in the Peach State, ETSU heads home to the Volunteer State for consecutive weekends as the Bucs head to Nashville for the Lipscomb Tournament on March 2-4, while hosting the Buccaneer Classic March 9-11. In Nashville, the Bucs take on Indiana State, Lipscomb and Georgia Southern.
ETSU wraps up tournament play the weekend of March 16-18 when the Bucs travel to Morehead, Ky. for the Eagle Classic. The Blue and Gold face Toledo and tournament host Morehead State on March 16, Toledo again on the 17th and end with Oakland and Morehead State on the 18th.
ETSU opens play at Betty Basler Field on March 9 when the Blue and Gold open the Buccaneer Classic against Saint Peters and Jackson State. The Bucs will then play Austin Peay and Saint Peters on March 10, before concluding their home tournament against Jackson State and Austin Peay on March 11.
Following the five tournaments to start the campaign, the Blue and Gold will turn their attention to Southern Conference play starting March 24 when ETSU hosts Samford in a rematch of last year’s conference championship game where the Bucs blanked the Bulldogs, 6-0.
ETSU’s other home SoCon series include reigning regular season champion UNCG (April 14-15) and Western Carolina in the regular season finale (May 5-6).
The Bucs play back-to-back conference road series at Mercer (March 30-31) and at Furman (April 7-8), while their final regular season road trip sends ETSU to in-state conference rival Chattanooga (April 28-29).
ETSU will look to defend its conference tournament title in Greensboro, N.C. The SoCon tournament will be held at the UNCG Softball Stadium May 9-12. The last team standing from the double-elimination tournament earns the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.