Longhorns are set to play 28 total games against 16 teams that reached the 2016 NCAA Field of 64
COMPLETE 2017 TEXAS SOFTBALL SPRING SCHEDULE
AUSTIN, Texas – Coming off the program’s 12th consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament, after earning a spot in last season’s Lafayette Regional, the Texas softball program and head coach Connie Clark are pleased to announce their challenging 2017 spring schedule.
Official gametimes and TV designations will be released at a later date.
Along the way, the Longhorns will face-off against a pair of last season’s Women’s College World Series participants in eventual national champion Oklahoma and UCLA, five NCAA Super Regional qualifiers (Oklahoma, UCLA, Arizona, Washington and Missouri) and will contest 28 total games against 16 squads that earned bids to the NCAA Field of 64 (Oklahoma, UCLA, Arizona, Washington, Missouri, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Long Beach State, Baylor, Cal State Fullerton, Tennessee, Minnesota, Texas State, McNeese State, Arizona State and Notre Dame).
During its scheduled 53-game regular-season slate, the Burnt Orange & White will be forced to leave the “Lone Star State” for just 20 contests, facing five out-of-state trips to Cathedral City, Calif., Tucson, Ariz., Los Angeles/Long Beach/Fullerton, Calif., Stillwater, Okla., and Lawrence, Kan.
Texas is returning five everyday positional starters and 14 letter winners for the upcoming 2017 campaign that combined to total 60% of the runs, 64% of the hits, 57% of the doubles, 55% of the HR’s and 65% of the RBIs from last season’s 38-win squad. UT will also be bringing back all three starting pitchers from last year and is hoping for the return of sophomore right-hander Erica Wright, who was forced to redshirt during the 2016 campaign because of an injury.
Included among the returnees are 2016 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Central Region choices in senior third baseman Celina Felix (.358 avg., 62 hits, 17 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs) and senior first baseman Kelli Hanzel (.298 avg., 31 hits, five HR’s, 19 RBIs). Also back for the Longhorns are 2016 All-Big 12 First Team senior pitcher Tiarra Davis (23-11, 1.97 ERA, 24 complete games, six shutouts, 213.0 IP, 186 strikeouts), power-hitting sophomore outfielder Reagan Hathaway (.309 avg., 38 hits, 12 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs), experienced senior standouts in outfielder Stephanie Wong (2015 NFCA All-Central Region choice; 11 stolen bases, 21 runs scored, 18 walks, 14 RBIs in 2016) and shortstop Devon Tunning (2015 All-Big 12 Conference; 29 runs scored, six doubles, 22 walks, 11 RBIs in 2016), junior catcher Randel Leahy (2015 All-Big 12 Freshman Team) and junior pitcher/designated player Paige von Sprecken (11-3 record, 2.91 ERA, eight complete games, three shutouts, 61 K’s, 98.2 innings pitched; .417 batting avg., seven extra-base hits, 17 RBIs). Wright earned a NFCA All-Central Region laurel as a freshman by going 18-9 with a 2.42 ERA and 178 strikeouts over 170.2 innings in 2015.
The 2017 campaign kicks-off at Red & Charline McCombs Field over the opening two weekends as the Longhorns host the Texas Classic (Feb. 10-12) and the Texas Invitational (Feb. 16-19). Maryland, Colorado State and 2016 NCAA Regional qualifier Minnesota visit for the Texas Classic, while Indiana, Louisiana Tech and 2016 NCAA Regional team South Carolina make the trip to Austin for the Texas Invitational.
The first road jaunt of the campaign will see Texas participate in the prestigious Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., over Feb. 23-26. On the docket for the Horns at the Big League Dreams facility will be high-profile match-ups against perennial Top 25 opponents Notre Dame, Missouri, Tennessee, Arizona State and Washington as well as a meeting with Bethune-Cookman.
After making a quick trip back to Austin to host local rival Texas State on March 1, the Burnt Orange & White venture out to Tucson, Ariz., for a three-game series over March 3-5 against 2016 NCAA Super Regional qualifier Arizona.
Following a mid-week home match-up against UTSA (March 8), the Horns head back out to California for the second time in three weeks with a “Spring Break” visit to Los Angeles, Fullerton and Long Beach, Calif. During the trip over March 12-18, Texas will face-off against 2016 WCWS participant UCLA, Loyola Marymount, Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton (three-game series).
UT will welcome in 2016 NCAA Regional participant McNeese State on March 22 before christening Big 12 Conference action on the road versus Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., over March 24-26.
The Longhorns are also scheduled to travel within the league this season to take on Texas Tech (April 13-15), Kansas (April 28-30) and Baylor (May 5).
Conference home series at McCombs Field during the 2017 campaign will include visits from defending national champion Oklahoma (April 7-9), Iowa State (April 21-23) and Baylor (May 6-7).
Several additional out-of-conference match-ups are also on the docket over the final two months of the regular season. Included are home tilts against Houston (doubleheader on April 2), Texas Southern (April 19), North Texas (April 26) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (May 3) as well as single road contests at UTSA (March 29) and Texas State (April 5).
The postseason begins a week earlier for league squads in 2017 with the reinstatement of the annual Big 12 Tournament at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla., over May 12-13.
The NCAA Tournament schedule gets underway at campus sites over May 19-21 with NCAA Regionals and follows with the best-of-three NCAA Super Regionals over May 25-28. The annual Women’s College World Series at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla., is scheduled to be contested from June 1-8.
Source- Texas Athletic Department