FORT MYERS, Fla., - Dave Deiros has announced the 2009 FGCU Softball Schedule. The Eagles, who won the Atlantic Sun Championship after leading wire-to-wire in 2007, come into the season off of a 48-16 record overall and 16-6 record in the league.
“Trying to repeat as Atlantic Sun Conference Champs will be difficult. Last year the league had a great year, finishing 11th in the RPI,” said Deiros. “We are looking forward to the challenge in conference play. Our non-conference schedule includes several games against NCAA Tournament teams along with nine opponents from the six major conferences. DePaul will probably be the highest ranked team to visit FGCU when they come for our first tournament.”
The Eagles again take on a challenging slate as they face nine opponents who made the NCAA Tournament including DePaul, a perennial top-25 program. The Eagles host the Blue Demons as a part of the FGCU Spring Invitational from February 20-22. The Eagles will take on four foes from the Big East and three from the Big 10, plus Mississippi State (SEC) and Oregon State (Pac-10).
The Eagles open the year with three straight tournaments including the first of two home tournaments. Again, the Eagles open the season at the USF/Best Western Tournament. The Eagles face Minnesota, Illinois State, UNC Greensboro, A-Sun rival UNF along with the hosts. The following week, the Eagles will travel to the FIU Blue and Gold Feisburg Tournament. Georgetown, Michigan State, Temple, St. John’s and FIU will be the opponents for FGCU in the event. The Eagles then host their first tournament with DePaul, Fairfield, Bethune-Cookman along with Michigan State.
A double header with Eastern Michigan precedes three more tournaments including the Malihini Tournament hosted by Hawaii. The Eagles face three teams that annually advance to the NCAA Tournament in the field, in Mississippi State, Oregon State and Hawaii. Also in that stretch are the FGCU Spring Break Tournament and a second tournament at USF. The tournament at USF includes three foes that won over 40 games last season. UMass is one of the opponents in the USF Tournament. Earlier this season, the Minutemen were named one of eight teams on the rise along with FGCU by ESPN.
Following the USF Tournament, FGCU begins Conference play. The Atlantic Sun had one of the best years in league history, as the league finished 11th in the RPI. The Eagles get USC Upstate, ETSU, Stetson, Belmont and Lipscomb at home. They go on the road to face Jacksonville, UNF, Mercer, Kennesaw State and Campbell. The home schedule includes 25 games this season.
Last year, the Eagles were 26-5 at home and set a new Atlantic Sun record for runs in a season during their first year as a Division I program. The Eagles return six starters and two of their top three pitchers.