BOWLING GREEN, Ky.— Coming off its first Sun Belt Conference Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in program history last year, the Western Kentucky University softball team looks to carry that momentum into 2014, as new head coach Amy Tudor announced the Lady Toppers’ schedule on Monday.
WKU will play 55 games this upcoming season, highlighted with matchups against 10 teams that went to the NCAA Tournament in 2013. Four of those teams—Tennessee, UAB, Louisiana-Lafayette and Kentucky—went on to the Super Regional round of play while Tennessee finished its season as the runner-up at the Women’s College World Series.
Of the 10 teams that went to postseason action, six of them will come to Bowling Green—Northern Iowa, Louisville, Louisiana-Lafayette, Mississippi Valley State, Kentucky and South Alabama. Those contests count as 10 of WKU’s 24 home games. WKU will host two home tournaments in 2014, as the Hilltopper Spring Fling will be at the WKU Softball Complex and the Hilltopper Spring Classic at Bowling Green’s Buchanon Park.
Though not league foes this year, the Lady Toppers will once again take on regional rival Middle Tennessee when the Blue Raiders coming to Bowling Green on April 2 and WKU travels to Murfreesboro, Tenn., on April 16.
WKU’s season opens Feb. 7 against Liberty at the Florida Gulf Coast/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational. After that weekend in Fort Myers, the Lady Toppers head to the opposite coast for a five-game tournament at UCLA Feb. 14-16. The team will then host Canisius, Miami (OH) and Bradley Feb. 21-23 at the Hilltopper Spring Fling before welcoming Wisconsin-Green Bay, Northern Iowa, Indiana State, Wright State and IUPUI to the Hilltopper Spring Classic Feb. 28-March 2.
After the tournament at Tennessee March 7-9, WKU begins weekday games, including one against Louisville on March 19 and Kentucky on April 22 with both in Bowling Green. WKU will also have weekday bouts with UAB (March 11), Tennessee Tech (March 12), Murray State (March 26), Belmont (April 9), Mississippi Valley State (April 10), Lipscomb (April 23) and Evansville (April 29).
The Lady Toppers begin their last go in the Sun Belt Conference when they host Troy March 22-23. WKU will also welcome the Ragin’ Cajuns on April 5-6 and South Alabama on April 26-27. The team travels to UT Arlington on March 29-30, Louisiana-Monroe on April 12-13, Texas State on April 18-19 and Georgia State on May 2-3.
WKU looks to secure that league’s automatic NCAA bid and first tournament championship when the SBC Tournament begins May 6 in Lafayette, La.
For all the latest news and information on WKU softball, visit WKUSports.com or follow the program on Twitter via @WKUSoftball.