Softball Releases 2013 Spring Slate
Oct. 24, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - University of Memphis softball head coach Natalie Poole released the team's 2013 spring schedule Wednesday, which features 11 home contests and the Blues City Classic in late February.
The Tigers open the season Feb. 8-10 when the team travels to Austin, Texas, to take part in the University of Texas Tournament. The team then heads east to take part in the three-day LSU Tournament, beginning Feb. 15 in Baton Rouge, La.
Tigers fans will get their first glimpse of the 2013 team from Feb. 22-24 when Memphis hosts the Blues City Classic at the Greenbrook Park in Southaven, Miss. The Tigers will face Indiana State, Detroit and Southeast Missouri State in a tournament that features 12 schools and 24 games over the three day period.
"Last year, we had six or seven teams," said head coach Natalie Poole. "Now, we have 12 teams in our tournament. We're pleased with what we have coming - the level of competition, a variety of different strengths of teams - and we think it's going to be a great tournament. We're happy to host it, and we're looking forward to having all of those teams come down and be able to host them in this city."
Also on the Memphis tournament schedule is a trip to Honolulu, Hawai'i, from Mar. 1-3 where the Tigers will go up against Hawai'i, Campbell and Western Kentucky. When they first arrive, Memphis will face Hawai'i in one game on Feb. 27 before beginning the tournament.
"In our preseason, we're definitely looking to get some good experience," Poole said. "I can definitely say that going to Hawai'i is a great trip, but one of the things that I enjoy most about it is optimal weather. I went there about three years ago with another university, and we were one of the very few teams that got a chance to play in one of the early weekends in the preseason, so I'm definitely appreciative of the opportunity to play in warmer weather. I think there's going to be some great competition there, and I'm excited about that also."
Memphis opens Conference USA play with a three-game series against UTEP on Mar. 9 in El Paso. The Tigers will have their first home C-USA contest on Mar. 16 when the team hosts 2012 NCAA Regional finalist Tulsa, who will host the C-USA conference tournament from May 9-11. Other C-USA opponents making the trip to Memphis this season include UAB, UCF and Houston.
"One of the things that (Athletics Director) Tom (Bowen) has emphasized to us is to have a strong presence as we move out," Poole said. "Ultimately, that's what I wanted as well. I want to be a better team than what we were last year, and I do believe we're going to put a better product on the field this year from the top to the bottom. I think we're going to be pretty athletic and mentally we've grown. I think our confidence has grown, and so I think you'll see a different team than what we saw last year. I think we definitely have the chance to finish strong in Conference USA. I think we'll have a better start than what we had last year and an even better finish."
The Tigers are coming off a 20-37 season, but return 13 letterwinners, including All-Conference USA Second Team selection Laura Curtis and Conference USA All-Freshman Team pick Jordan Richwood. Memphis also returns the team's top hitter from a season ago in senior Morgan Mosby and the squad's top pitcher in junior Ellen Roberts. Joining the returners on the Tigers squad are seven newcomers, including five true freshman and two transfers.