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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 7, 2019) -- East Tennessee State University head coach Brad Irwin announced the 2019 Buccaneer softball schedule on Monday.
Highlighted by a home game against Tennessee, the annual Buccaneer Classic and three Southern Conference home series, the Buccaneers are seeking to make their third straight appearance in the conference championship game and claim a second SoCon title in the last three seasons.
2019 SEASON OPENER
The Bucs will open the 2019 season on Friday, Feb. 9 when ETSU takes on Morgan State in the first game of the Blue Hose Invitational in Clinton, S.C. In addition to playing the Bears, the Blue and Gold will also face Akron and Presbyterian in the season-opening weekend tournament.
BUCS TO HOST TENNESSEE IN HOME OPENER
Following a trip to Charleston, S.C., for the Charleston Southern Tournament, the Buccaneers will return home to host Tennessee in a single game on Tuesday, Feb. 19. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Betty Basler Field. This will mark the second time the Vols will make the trip to Johnson City, with the first meeting being held back on April 14, 2015.
After hosting Tennessee, the Blue and Gold will play their next 12 games away from Betty Basler Field, beginning with the Gardner-Webb Tournament from Feb. 22-24. The Bucs will play five games in three days in Boiling Springs, featuring two games against St. Francis (PA) and Gardner-Webb and a single game with Bowling Green.
From there, ETSU will head to Nashville for the TSU Winter Warm Up, which pins the Bucs against North Alabama, tournament host Tennessee State, Marist and Portland State from March 1-3.
Before returning home for the annual Buccaneer Classic, the Bucs will make the short trek over to Spartanburg, S.C., for a non-conference doubleheader with Big South foe USC Upstate on March 6.
ETSU will bring five teams to Betty Basler Field for this year’s Buccaneer Classic, which will be held March 8-11. Joining ETSU in the field are Big Ten contender Rutgers, Evansville from the Missouri Valley, in-state foe Tennessee Tech and Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference member Siena.
The Bucs will face Rutgers and Tennessee Tech on March 8, while playing Siena on March 9 and ending the tournament with consecutive games against Evansville on March 10 and 11.
REMAINING NON-CONFERENCE CONTESTS
The Bucs’ remaining non-conference games following the Buccaneer Classic consists of a doubleheader at Tennessee Tech on March 16, a home-and-home with rival Appalachian State on March 20 (in Boone) and March 27 (Betty Baser Field) and a road doubleheader at Radford on April 3.
SOUTHERN CONFERENCE OPENER
The Blue and Gold will open conference play at Western Carolina the weekend of March 23-24, while also making SoCon trips to Samford (April 13-14) and reigning regular season/tournament champion UNCG (May 4-5). The regular season finale in Greensboro, N.C., will feature a rematch of last year’s SoCon Championship game.
SOCON HOME SERIES
ETSU will host three SoCon home series in 2019, beginning with its three-game series with Mercer from April 6-7. The Blue and Gold will then enjoy back-to-back home weekend series with Furman (April 19-20) and Chattanooga (April 27-28).
The 2019 SoCon Championship will be held May 8-11 at Chattanooga’s Frost Stadium. The winner will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in the double-elimination tournament format. ETSU won the tournament the last time it was held at this venue in 2017 as the Blue and Gold won four straight games to claim their first-ever conference title.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the softball link.