USF Senior Writer
TAMPA – Softball teams will be flocking to hot spots in Florida to take part in the USF Series starting in late February.
The USF softball program will be hosting four tournaments with some games played on campus and the bulk of the schedule taking place at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.
“We’ve done a great job with the city of Clearwater in coordinating efforts into attracting the best teams in the country and some high-profile programs,” USF head coach Ken Eriksen said. “It’s not just the weather, Clearwater is definitely a destination spot for families to come to and watch their kids play in college.”
Action begins with the NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic Friday, Feb. 24 to Sunday, Feb. 26 in Clearwater. Among the teams planning to attend are Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Boston and DePaul.
The Series continues with the USF Under Armour Invitational Friday, March 2 to Sunday, March 4 in Clearwater. Boston makes a return trip to Florida to play and will be joined by programs like Bethune-Cookman, Florida Gulf Coast, Central Michigan, Harvard, Miami (Ohio), Villanova and Western Michigan.
The USF Under Armour Showcase is set for Friday, March 9 through Sunday, March 11 and action will take place at both the USF Softball Stadium and the Eddie C. Moore Complex. The Bulls play a doubleheader Friday against Penn State and Virginia Tech before heading to Clearwater to take on Central Connecticut and the Netherlands on Saturday.
The Series concludes with the USF Tournament at both locations Friday, March 16 to Sunday, March 18. This event features the most teams of any Series installment with the Bulls getting Fairfield and Northwestern on campus Friday. USF faces Northern Illinois and Kent State on Saturday in Clearwater before playing Florida State on Sunday at the USF Softball Stadium. Other headliners in the USF Tournament will be Florida A&M, FGCU, Rutgers, Hartford, Maryland and North Florida.
Getting to host some of the largest tournaments in the country is just one plus for USF. Eriksen said the fact that the Bulls get to play so much ball close to home is a huge bonus for the program.
“We’re not missing any days of school. We’re not having to travel out on a Wednesday and get back late Sunday or early Monday,” he said. “The aspect of being able to study, sleep in your own bed, keep your routines normal has paid dividends not just for us on the ball field but also in the classroom.”