By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Four regular-season tournaments, five non-conference series and an always competitive Ohio Valley Conference race greets the Tennessee Tech softball team as they open the 2018 campaign on Feb. 9.
The Golden Eagles, who were projected to finish 10th in the OVC preseason poll released earlier this morning, will get tested early as Tech will take on some great competition early on.
"This is going to be an interesting schedule for us this season," said Tech head coach Bonnie Bynum Graham. "These aren't easy games by any means, so it will provide our players the opportunity to show just what they're made of. This is a schedule that will get us ready for conference play and I think they're up to the challenge."
Tech starts the season off with the Auburn Plainsman Invitational on Feb. 9 through 11 as the Golden Eagles square off against Furman on the first day, then face Marshall, Wichita State and the host Tigers in a rematch of their 2015 NCAA Regional matchup for a pair of games.
The following week, Tech heads down to the Chattanooga Challenge from Feb. 16 to 18 as the Golden Eagles will take on Western Kentucky and Chattanooga on the first day, Sacred Heart and Indiana State on the second, and Alabama A&M on the final day.
From Feb. 23 to 25, Tech heads down to Troy, Ala., for the Trojan Classic. The Golden Eagles will face Murray State in a non-OVC contest on the first day, then will play two against UAB and Troy.
On Feb. 28, the Golden Eagles open their home slate with a non-conference contest against Samford, a repeat trip for the Bulldogs, who came to the Tech Softball Field last season for a mid-week twinbill.
Tech hits the road again for a Saturday doubleheader against Appalachian State on March 3, then a three-game set at Presbyterian on March 10 and 11, then hosts Lipscomb for a single game on March 7 and Rhode Island for a pair on March 13.
The Golden Eagles then travel to Memphis for their final regular-season tournament from March 16 to 18 in the Memphis Tiger Classic. Tech takes on Southeast Missouri in a non-conference contest, host Memphis for a pair, South Dakota and Eastern Michigan in the event.
Tech will then turn around and face the Redhawks again the following weekend as the Golden Eagles open OVC play at Cape Girardeau on March 24, with a visit at UT Martin the next day on the way back. Tech then travels to Austin Peay to close out the March slate on the 30th.
The Golden Eagles open their longest homestand of the season with six games from April 7 to 14 with doubleheaders against Tennessee State (4/7), Belmont (4/8) and Murray State (4/14). Tech travels to Eastern Illinois (4/21) and SIUE (4/22), before closing out the home portion of their schedule with a non-conference contest against Chattanooga (4/24), and league doubleheaders against Eastern Kentucky (4/28) and Morehead State (4/29).
Tech closes out the 2018 regular season with a visit to Jacksonville State on May 4, then returns to Alabama the following week for the OVC Softball Tournament in Oxford, Ala., from May 9 to May 12.