January 15, 2010

Five tourneys, 22 home games featured in 2010 softball schedule

View the complete 2010 schedule

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – For the first month of the 2010 softball season, the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles might as well keep their bags packed, but at least they'll only need a couple of tanks of gas.

Coach Tory Acheson’s squad gets his 12th season at Tech underway by playing a total of 28 games in the first 31 days, and 22 of those are in five tournaments on the road. The Golden Eagles do get six home games in the first month, and have a total of 22 home contests in the 60-game schedule announced this week by the veteran coach.

Despite so many early road contests, Acheson likes the way his team’s 2010 slate breaks down.

“This is a much stronger home schedule, and a much stronger schedule overall,” he said.

Tech plays 22 games at home, 20 on neutral fields and 18 as the visiting team, all leading up to the 2010 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, scheduled for May 13-15 at the site of the regular season champion.

In OVC play, Tech hosts 14 games and plays 14 on the road. Home conference series are scheduled against Murray State, UT Martin, Eastern Kentucky and Southeast Missouri, plus a single game against Jacksonville State. Tech goes on the road for league series at Austin Peay, Eastern Illinois, Tennessee State and Morehead State, and faces a doubleheader at JSU.

“The OVC schedules balances out a little better this year,” Acheson said. “It will be interesting going to Eastern Illinois early in the year. We’ve had a streak of bad luck playing them. Two years ago the entire series was snowed out up there and last year we fought Mother Nature for two days before we finally got to play.”

Acheson said the OVC race is wide open with Jacksonville State and UT Martin the most likely favorites after each went to post-season play a year ago.

“The OVC is very hard to predict,” he said. “The league is so improved over the years since I came here, there isn’t a team anymore that you can anticipate wins against. Even the teams in the bottom of the conference get some wins and are big challenges.”

Included in Tech’s non-conference home schedule are single-game visits from Tennessee and Liberty and doubleheaders with Middle Tennessee, Lipscomb and Belmont.

Non-conference road games are at Chattanooga and Western Kentucky, plus a neutral-site game against Kennesaw State in Chattanooga.

All five tournaments on the schedule are within a couple hours drive.

“The biggest difference is that there are no long road trips for these tournaments,” Acheson said. “Every one of them is regional. In these tough economic times, it didn’t seem wise to be spending money to play all over the country. We were able to find strong competition and we don’t have to travel more than about 200 miles to play any of them.”

The season begins at a tournament at Middle Tennessee State, Feb. 12-13. The Golden Eagles are scheduled to face UM Kansas City and Miami (Ohio) before battling the host Lady Blue Raiders.

The following weekend, Tech plays in the Kennesaw Invitational, Feb. 19-21. Tech’s game are against Ball State, Mercer, Western Illinois and Alabama State, prior to meeting the host team.

The Golden Eagles play their first home games on Wednesday, Feb. 24, a doubleheader against Middle Tennessee scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

Next is the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Feb. 26-28. Tech will play Miami (Ohio), Oakland, Wright State, Kansas and East Tennessee.

The Tennessee Lady Vols come to Cookeville on Wednesday, March 3 for a single game beginning at 5 p.m.

“Every three or four years we’re lucky to get Tennessee to come here to play us and I think the game will be very popular,” Acheson said.

Tech’s fourth tournament is the Buzz Classic, March 5-7, in Woodstock, Ga., where the Golden Eagles will meet Western Carolina, Mercer, James Madison, Ole Miss and UNC Greensboro.
Lipscomb visits for a March 9 doubleheader, followed by a single home game against Liberty on March 11.

The final in-season tournament is the Tennessee Invitational, March 13-14 in Knoxville, Tech meets Liberty for the third time in three days, Tennessee and Campbell.

The pre-conference slate wraps up March 16 with a single game at Chattanooga before the Golden Eagles play at Austin Peay to get the OVC portion of the schedule underway, March 20-21.