SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University softball and head coach Shayne Lotito announced the team's upcoming schedule for the 2018 season. The Bulldogs will play six teams that competed in last season's NCAA Tournament, including two that advanced to the Women's College World Series.
"We are excited about our schedule this year," Lotito said. "It is extremely competitive and allows for us to gain high-level experience as we head into conference play. Our goal is to prepare the team to compete at its highest potential and get us comfortable playing teams in the top 25."
The season begins with 22 games away from Conaty Park, including stops in Arizona, South Florida, Oregon, and Seattle.
The team's first series of games will be in the Arizona Wildcat-hosted Hillenbrand Invitational and will be played from Feb. 16 through Feb. 18. There, the Bulldogs will compete against Colorado State, Arizona, Troy, Louisiana-Monroe and Montana. Last season, Arizona advanced to a Super Regional in the NCAA Tournament.
Bryant then heads to Tampa, Florida, to compete in the USF Tournament from Feb. 23 through Feb. 25. Bryant will take on Fordham, Drake, and South Florida, with two other games dependent upon results of the opening two days.
From March 9 through March 11, Lotito and her squad will head to Oregon to compete in the Oregon Duck Invitational. Montana and Bryant open up the tournament, and from there, the Bulldogs take on Toledo, Weber State and end the tournament with Oregon, another participant in the 2017 WCWS.
Two stray road games are on the docket against Portland State and WCWS participant Washington on the March 13 and 14, respectively. On March 16, the Bulldogs start competition in the Seattle U Invite, running through March 18. Two other schools will compete in the Invitational; Seattle and Portland State.
Bryant will play its home opener on March 21 when the Bulldogs host the Boston University Terriers for a doubleheader slated for a 2 p.m. start. Other non-conference opponents making their way to Bryant are UMass Lowell (April 4) and Providence (April 11). Bryant will take on Holy Cross (March 28), Connecticut (April 3), and Harvard (April 17) on the road.
The Bulldogs open their conference schedule on March 30 at Fairleigh Dickinson for a doubleheader. Other conference road games are Sacred Heart (April 14), Robert Morris (April 21), and Saint Francis U (April 22). Conference home games are LIU Brooklyn (April 7), Wagner (April 8), Central Connecticut (April 15) and the season finale vs. Mount St. Mary's (April 28).