El Paso, TX — UTEP softball head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk announced the 2014 softball schedule onTuesday, which is highlighted by the Miners playing seven programs that played in the 2013 NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals and taking on NM State threetimes.
Three current UTEP coaches coached in the NCAA College World Series Regionals last season. Echo-Hawk, who was hired on June 20, and assistant coach Cristina Cobb-Adams led the Portland State squad to the post season. New UTEP pitching coach Josh Johnson advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals with Louisiana-Lafayette.
“It’s a great schedule. We play some really tough teams,” Echo-Hawk said. “Starting right out of the gate with Nebraska, who went to the College World Series last year. It doesn’t get much better than that. Then you go down the list, you add Florida State who’s a Top 25 team and Hawaii, who’s a Top 25 team. We’re going to be tested early and we’re going to see what we are all about. That’s what I want; I want us to go up against the best teams we can possibly play so we are a bit more prepared going into conference play.”
UTEP opens the season in Las Cruces, N.M. at the HotelEncanto Tournament hosted by NM State on Feb. 7-9. The Miners are set to play Nebraska (Feb. 7) and Florida State (Feb. 8) in the tourney. Both programs advanced to the super regionals. The Miners will end the weekend against NM State.
The Miners will then travel to Las Vegas, Nev. to play in the 2014 Easton Desert Classic hosted by UNLV on Feb. 13-15. UTEP will playNCAA Regional team Hawai’i to open the classic.
The UTEP Invitational (Feb. 21-23) will feature the Miners taking on Incarnate Word, Houston Baptist and NM State. The Miners will then travel to Tucson, Ariz. to play NCAA Regional team Arizona on Feb. 25 & 26.
The Miners will close out the first half of the schedule in the Libby Matson Tournament in Stockton, Calif. hosted by Pacific on Feb. 28-March 2. The Orange and Blue will take on two more programs that were in the regionals – Washington (Feb. 28 & March 1) and San Jose State (Feb. 28). The Huskies advanced to the super regionals.
UTEP is set to open Conference USA play against Southern Miss at Helen of Troy Softball Complex (March 8-9) and will play at Tulsa (March 29-30). The Golden Hurricane also played in the NCAA Regionals.
The home portion of the schedule will close against UTSA (April 26-27), while the regular season will conclude at East Carolina (May 3-4).
The other two NM State games will be played on March 4 & 25.
The C-USA Tournament will be hosted by Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Fla. (May 8-10).