NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee State softball head coach Tom Opdenbrouw announces the 2016 schedule for his second campaign at the helm. The slate includes a tournament in Louisiana, a slew of non-conference games, including a double header at Women’s College World Series participant Auburn, and a pair of home tournaments before heading into conference play.
The Tigers will play 27 games on 16 dates at home this year - including back-to-back tournaments during the second and third weekends of the season. The Tiger Classic will be held from Feb. 19-21 and will include Butler, East Tennessee State, Evansville, Louisiana-Monroe and Northern Kentucky. The Tigers will face each team once during the 15-game, three-day event.
A week later, the Big Blue will host Southern and Loyola-Chicago in the Tiger Invitational. Three games will be contested on each day at Tiger Field beginning on Feb. 26.
The season will start with a trip to Hammond, La. as the Tigers compete in the Southeastern Louisiana Lion Classic. A battle with Mississippi Valley State on Feb. 12 kicks off the year and is followed with a game against host SLU for the first of two meetings on the weekend. Day two pits TSU versus Buffalo and Nicholls State, before closing out play on Sunday against the Lions.
After the three tournaments in February, the Tigers will begin March with 11 match-ups in preparation for Ohio Valley Conference play. The slate starts with a double header at Samford on Mar. 4, before returning home to face Youngstown State for a single contest on Mar. 7.
The Tigers will once again hit the road for a pair of spring break double headers at Auburn (Mar. 9) and Alabama State (Mar.10). The week will conclude as Arkansas-Pine Bluff visits the Land of Golden Sunshine for a twin bill on Sunday, Mar. 13.
A date with Georgia Tech on Mar. 16 is the final test just ahead of a three-game series with Eastern Kentucky. The Tigers will travel to Atlanta for two games for its final tune-up leading into the first OVC weekend (Mar. 19-20).
TSU will face Middle Tennessee in a home-an-home series sandwiching a pair of OVC double headers. The Tigers will travel to Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Mar. 22 for a single game and will host the Blue Raiders on Mar. 30. In between the non-conference games, the Tigers travel first to UT Martin (Mar. 25) and then to Southeast Missouri (Mar. 26).
April opens with a three-game home OVC series with Jacksonville State (Apr. 2-3). The two-teams will play a pair of games on Saturday with a single game on Sunday. The month continues with a visit from Atlantic Sun opponent Kennesaw State for two games on Apr. 7, which leads into OVC double headers with Murray State (Apr. 9) and at Austin Peay on Apr. 10.
The Tigers continue the road trip with a weekend series at Tennessee Tech (Apr. 16-17). TSU was able to win one-of-three from the Golden Eagles last season. TTU went on to win the conference tournament and represent the OVC in the NCAA tournament.
The Tigers will step out of conference play yet again to take on its second consecutive NCAA post season participant. A midweek trip on Apr. 20 will pit TSU against Southern Conference champions, Chattanooga.
TSU returns home for the final time in 2016 with a pair of conference twin bills. The Tigers host defending regular season champion, SIU Edwardsville, on Apr. 23 and will close out the home schedule the following day (Apr. 24) against Eastern Illinois.
The final nonconference game of the year will take the Big Blue across town to face Lipscomb in a single game on Apr. 26.
The Tigers will continue the season ending road trip by traveling to Rose Park for a weekend series with Belmont (Apr.30-May 1) before heading to Kentucky for a three-game series at Morehead State (May 7-8).
TSU will look to make the OVC tournament for the first time since 2001. The season ending tournament is scheduled for May 12-14 at the site of the regular season champion. Winner of the OVC tournament will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs beginning May 19.
2016 SCHEDULE FACTS
Home Games: 27
Neutral Site Games: 3
Away Games: 28
Total Tournaments: 3
Home Tournaments: 1
Ohio Valley Conference Games: 27
Ohio Valley Conference Series: 11
Non-Conference Games: 31
Non-Conference Home Games: 15
Longest Homestand: 9 Games (February 19-28)
Longest Road Trip: 7 Games (April 26-May 8)
2015 NCAA Tournament Teams: 3 (Auburn, Chattanooga, Tennessee Tech)
First Time Opponents: 4 (Buffalo, Louisiana-Monroe, Nicholls State, Southern)