The UTEP softball team will open its 2011 campaign when it hosts the University of Northern Colorado for a doubleheader on Feb. 10 at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.
“We feel we have a pretty balanced schedule throughout the season,” co-head coach James Rodriguez said. “We have some teams that have been near the top 25 in the last few years and they will help us prepare for conference.
“Our conference schedule alone is tough enough, as every year one or two teams threaten to break into the top 25”.
The Miners will play 27 games in the comfort of their own home where they have posted winning records the last five years. UTEP won its first 15 home games during the 2010 season before breaking the streak against eventual Conference USA Champion and NCAA tournament team UAB.
UTEP’s road schedule will begin with a trip to Cedar Falls, Iowa for the Ramada Uni-Dome Classic on Feb. 12-13. The Miners will return home to kick off a seven-game home stand that begins with a three-game series with Houston Baptist (Feb. 19-10) followed by the annual UTEP Invitational, Feb. 24-27.
The Miners will take the road to the North Texas Invitational (March 4-5) where they will face Wichita State, North Texas, Louisiana Tech, UT-Arlington and Ole Miss. The softball version of the Battle of I-10 is scheduled for March 9 in Las Cruces, NM.
A trip to Orlando, Fla. will open the league portion of the schedule on March 12-13. The Miners will have one final tune-up when they host Marist College for a pair of doubleheaders (March 18-19) and Nebraska (March 22) before hitting the conference schedule full speed.
Memphis, Houston, East Carolina and Tulsa will make the trip to the Sun City for three-game series at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. Aside the UCF trip, the Miners will travel to UAB, Southern Miss and Marshall for conference games.
The Conference USA Championships will be hosted by East Carolina on May 12-14. The top eight teams qualify for the single-elimination tournament with the winner gaining the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.