While most of the Houston Baptist University sports programs look forward to beginning Southland Conference play next year, the HBU Huskies softball team prepares to compete in the league in a few weeks.
And, as of Tuesday, they know exactly how their schedule shapes up, as the school has formally announced the softball team’s 2013 schedule.
The Huskies enter the Southland Conference after spending the last three in the Great West Conference.
“We are very excited to be the first team to compete for HBU in the Southland Conference,” said softball head coach Mary-Ellen Hall in a statement released on Tuesday.
HBU starts the season with a doubleheader at Prairie View A&M on Feb. 13, then participates in the McNeese State Cowgirl Classic from Feb. 15-17, before concluding the road trip at seventh-ranked Texas on Feb. 20.
The Huskies’ home opener will be Sat., Feb. 23, with a doubleheader against UH-Victoria.
The Huskies stay in Houston for the next five games, with an away contest at the Houston on Feb. 26, then home-and-home games against Texas Southern on Feb. 27 (Husky Field) and Mar. 5 (Memorial Park).
After a home doubleheader against UTSA on Mar. 6, the Huskies hit the road for its first conference games, facing Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Mar. 9-10.
“We have a very challenging first part of our schedule to get us prepared for conference play,” said Hall, who begins her 22nd season as the Huskies' head coach.
HBU then returns home for an eight-game home stand beginning with a doubleheader against Bucknell on Mar. 11. HBU hosts Southeastern Louisiana and Central Arkansas in conference matchups on Mar. 16-17 and Mar. 19-20, respectively.
HBU hits the road for the next seven games, six of which are conference matchups.
The trip begins with a three-game series at Nicholls State on Mar. 28-29, before a non-conference game against Texas State on Apr. 2. The Huskies conclude the road trip at Sam Houston State on Mar. 6-7.
HBU returns home to play a doubleheader against SWAC foe, Jackson State, on Apr. 10, and then resume conference play with a three-game weekend series against McNeese State on Apr. 13-14.
Following a weekend trip at Northwestern State on Apr. 20-21, HBU returns to Houston for the final five games on the home slate, a doubleheader against Prairie View A&M on Apr. 23 followed by a three-game conference series against Stephen F. Austin on Apr. 27-28.
The Huskies conclude the regular season at Lamar on May 4-5 before the 2013 Southland Conference Tournament is played on May 9-11 in Natchitoches, La., hosted by Northwestern State.
“We think it is our toughest schedule to date, but we feel it will prepare us to compete in the Southland Conference,” said Hall. “The team has been working very hard and can't wait for our season to begin.”
The Huskies finished the 2012 season with a 16-33 record. They have 13 returning players from last year's team, led by sophomore infielders Melissa Herman and Michaela Granchelli, who led the team in batting average and RBI last season, and pitchers Kendall Stiefel and Sarah Shotton.
The team was picked to finish eighth in the ten-team league by the Southland Conference head coaches last week.