Dec. 9, 2013
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech released its 2014 softball schedule on Monday and the 56-game slate features four tournaments, including a six-team home event to open the season, and a road contest against defending national champion Oklahoma.
Tech hosts the Lady Techster Invitational and will also participate in road tournaments hosted by the University of Texas, the University of Arkansas and Louisiana-Monroe.
Head coach Mark Montgomery returns nine letter winners and three starters from last year's team which posted a 27-26 record and earned the program's highest finish ever in the Western Athletic Conference. Tech welcomes nine newcomers as the Lady Techsters prepare for their first year as a member of Conference USA.
"In addition to our Conference USA schedule we have some great middle-of-the-week home games against several in-state rivals, including Top 25 Louisiana-Lafayette, defending Southland Conference champion Northwestern State, as well as regional power McNeese State," Montgomery said. "We are excited to be opening with a home tournament. We have several quality teams coming in to Ruston, and it will be nice to have an opportunity to start the season at home playing in front of family and friends."
The season begins the weekend of Feb. 7 as the Lady Techsters will host a three-day tournament featuring St. Louis, Tennessee-Martin, Houston Baptist, Wichita State and Jackson State. A total of 15 games will be played at the event during the three days of action.
Tech will travel to Austin the following weekend (Feb. 14-16) to compete in a three-day, four-team tournament that includes perennial powers in Texas and Kentucky as well as IPFW.
The following weekend (Feb. 21-23) the Lady Techsters will travel down I-20 to compete in the ULM Warhawk Classic, which features the host Warhawks, South Dakota, Southern and Alcorn State.
Tech's final spring tournament (Feb. 28-March 2) will be at the University of Arkansas as the three-day event includes the Razorbacks, Stephen F. Austin and Drake.
"Our spring break trip could really be the greatest indicator as to our season's possibilities," Montgomery said. "We start out at the Arkansas tournament and then play at defending national champion Oklahoma. Then it's on to a game against Top 25 Baylor before starting conference play against UTSA."
Tech plays eight three-game Conference USA series with home match-ups against UTEP, Florida Atlantic, Southern Miss and East Carolina and road games against UTSA, Middle Tennessee, North Texas and Marshall.
"Conference USA is going to be extremely competitive," Montgomery said. "It is a great league from top to bottom, and it sent four teams to the NCAA Tournament last year. It is my goal that we will be in the mix at the end of the season and can earn a good seed for the postseason league tournament."
The Conference USA Tournament will be hosted by Florida Atlantic in Baco Raton, Florida May 8-10.