The Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball team traditionally has started the season with a series of tournaments, but for 2010 there are a couple of twists.
The Lady Bisons will host their first ever tournament at Draper Diamond March 5-7 with Murray State, Eastern Kentucky and Evansville participating.
“Murray State is a brand new program,” said Lady Bisons coach Kristin Ryman. “We will play them twice. We will also play Eastern Kentucky and Evansville.”
The Lady Bisons will be in Honolulu, Hawaii, March 17-20 for the Hawaii Spring Fling. They will play host Hawaii, California-Berkley and Tokyo Women’s College. It will mark the first time the team has played in Hawaii.
“It won’t be tough being out there, but our games are going to be a big challenge playing Hawaii twice and California twice,” said Ryman. “We have never played an international team so it will be fun to play the team from Tokyo.”
The Lady Bisons will open the season Feb. 12-14 at the Mardi Gras Classic in Mobile, Ala. The field includes Central Arkansas, Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois Edwardsville and host South Alabama.
“SIEU is making the transition to Division I and is doing very well,” said Ryman. “South Alabama is always tough. Western Kentucky always hits well. Central Arkansas is a team on the climb. They have recruited very well. They have also recently made the transition to Division I.
“We will be tested right off the bat which is great. That’s exactly what we want.”
The next tournament on the schedule is the Georgia Southern Eagle Classic in Statesboro, Ga., Feb. 19-21. The field includes Oakland, Binghamton and host Georgia Southern.
“Georgia Southern will quite possibly be our toughest opponent,” said Ryman. “We don’t know much about Oakland and Binghamton.
“We will play five games there. We will be able to mix and match our lineups and give some people who are really pushing hard for a starting role to battle it out early on. We can play to our strengths a little bit and give all our pitchers a chance to throw, either in relief or as a starter.”
The Frost Classic is Feb. 26-28 with Oakland, Austin Peay, Kentucky, Kansas and Georgetown all scheduled to face the Lady Bisons. The tournament is sponsored by Tennessee-Chattanooga.
“We are going to face off against some good teams,” said Ryman. “We an interesting mix in that tournament. The Kentucky and Kansas games will definitely give us an idea of where we are with our program. If we can compete with those teams it will say a lot about how far we have come.”
The Lady Bisons will play a rare game in February at home when Alabama-Birmingham visits on the 16th for a doubleheader.
“UAB is typically a very athletic team,” said Ryman. “They are typically strong all around. This is a little unique to host a team early on like this. It will be nice to play at home early.”
The Lady Bisons have been to the Atlantic Sun Tournament four times. They open Atlantic Sun play at home with doubleheaders with ETSU and USC-Upstate March 26 and 27.
Rounding out the home conference doubleheaders will be Stetson (April 16) and Florida Gulf Coast (April 17).
The Lady Bisons will play Jacksonville (April 2), North Florida (April 3), Mercer (April 9), Kennesaw State (April 10), Campbell (April 24) and Belmont (April 27).
The Lady Bisons visit Cookeville March 9 to face Tennessee Tech from the Ohio Valley Conference on the road. Evansville will make a return visit to Draper Diamond March 11 for a doubleheader.
The Lady Bisons will play Tennessee State from the Ohio Valley Conference at Draper Diamond April 7 and close out the regular season May 6 with a visit from Middle Tennessee State from the Sun Belt Conference.
After the tournaments, the only non-conference road game for the Lady Bisons will be a visit to Bowling Green to face Western Kentucky March 30.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations