COLLEGE PARK, Md.- The Maryland softball team unveiled its 51-game spring 2017 schedule on Monday. The slate consists of 18 home games, as well as 20 games against teams that made the 2016 NCAA Softball Tournament.
"We are excited about the strength of our preseason schedule and know it will have us ready to compete in the Big Ten,” said head coach Julie Wright. “This is why our staff coaches and our student-athletes play: to compete against the best. We’re looking forward to getting our season underway."
The Terrapins will spend the first five weekends on the road, all at locations the Maryland softball program has never played. The non-conference slate will feature stops at the University of Texas, University of Florida, Louisiana and Missouri, and a west coast swing at California Riverside. Maryland then will wrap up its non-conference part of the schedule at home for the Maryland Invitational. In Big Ten play, Maryland will have home series against Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin.
During its non-conference slate Maryland will play 11 games against teams that made the postseason a year ago, and six against those who made it to the Super Regional round. In addition, the Terrapins will play ten teams they have never before faced in program history.
Maryland will begin its journey in Austin, Texas for the Texas Invitational. Opening day will commence on February 10, 2017 at 11:30 am against reigning Big Ten Champions Minnesota. The Terps and Gophers can play in the non-conference portion of the year because they do not face off during conference play. In addition to two games against Minnesota, Maryland will also go up against Colorado State and Texas.
The following weekend, the Terps will escape the cold to perennial powerhouse University of Florida for the Aquafina Invitational. Maryland will face 2014-2015 National Champions Florida, as well as FIU, Northwestern State and FAMU in the two-day invitational.
From February 24-26, Maryland will take a trip to the Bayou for the Mardi Gras Classic. Here, the Terrapins will face perennial powerhouse Louisiana Lafayette and three teams (Drake, Bowling Green, and Bradley) for the first time ever.
The Terrapins will then travel to their second SEC school, Missouri, for the Missouri Invitational from March 3-5. Four of the five games in Columbia will be against 2016 NCAA Tournament teams, including three against Missouri and Oregon, who both made the Super Regional round.
Maryland’s annual west-coast trip will be to California Riverside this season. Eight Terrapins hail from the state of California. The Terps will play four games in California against Tennessee Martin, Iona, California Riverside, and Weber State.
Finally, the Terrapins will host the Maryland Invitational from March 17-19, welcoming SUNY schools Buffalo and Binghamton to town as well as 2016 Super Regional team James Madison. Maryland will play each of the SUNY schools twice before facing off against the Dukes on Sunday in the final game of the non-conference slate.
Maryland will open up conference play at home for the first time since the Terrapins joined the conference three years ago. The Terps will welcome 2016 NCAA Tournament team Ohio State to College Park for a three game series from March 24-26.
Then, the Terrapins will face back-to-back road series at Michigan State (March 31-April 2) and Northwestern (April 7-9). Maryland and Michigan State have split six games over the past two years, while this will be Maryland’s first ever meeting with Northwestern, who made the postseason a year ago.
After two weekends on the road, Maryland will return home for a weekend series against 2016 Women’s College World Series team Michigan from April 14-16. Then, the Terps will travel up I-95 for a midweek matchup at Rutgers on April 19.
Just two days later, Maryland will take its last regular season trip of 2016 to Bloomington, Indiana for an April 21-23 series against the Hoosiers. Like Michigan State, Maryland and Indiana have split six games since the Terps entered the conference, with both teams winning two of three on the road.
Maryland will spend its last two weekends of the 2016 regular season in College Park with series’ against Penn State (April 28-30) and Wisconsin (May 5-7). The Terrapins will honor their senior class during the series with the Badgers.
The 2017 Big Ten Softball Championship will take place May 11-13 at the University of Michigan. The winner of the tournament earns the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Softball Championship.