SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University softball head coach Nick French announced the Bulldogs' 2019 schedule on Thursday.
The 45-game schedule is highlighted by a trip to the University of Georgia and includes three NCAA Tournament opponents.
"It's a challenging early schedule," said French. "Georgia was in the College World Series, South Carolina was a Super Regional team, and a number of other teams were at or near the top of their conference. We expect this to prepare us for the rigors of NEC play in April and that will ultimately be our true test. We're excited to play in some big ballparks and take on the best knowing we'll be better for the experience."
The Bulldogs open the 2019 season with a five-game weekend at Florida International beginning February 8, where they will first square off with two American Athletic Conference foes with one game against Memphis followed by two contests against UConn. Bryant closes out the weekend by facing Michigan State and Florida International for the first time in school history.
Bryant then travels to Women's College World Series contender Georgia on February 22. From there the Bulldogs face Georgia, Belmont, and UMass. The Minutewomen defeated Bryant two years prior in 2017 and lead the series 2-0.
For spring break (March 8-10), Bryant remains in the South to play a weekend tournament at College of Charleston. The Bulldogs will take Marist and C of C on the Friday before Saturday games against Youngstown and NC State. The Bulldogs close out the weekend with an Ocean State clash against Rhode Island.
Bryant stays in the Palmetto State to square off with Coastal Carolina on March 11 and 12, and NCAA Super Regional qualifier, South Carolina, on its home turf for a pair of mid-week games on March 13.
The Bulldogs continue to make their way up north making a pit stop at Maryland for a three-day tournament (March 15-17) against four first-time opponents: Maryland, Drexel, UMBC, and Saint Peter's.
Before returning home, Bryant makes a trip to Long Island for a two-day series at Stony Brook March 23 and 24. The last time Bryant met with the Seawolves was a two-game split in 2014. Stony Brook leads the all-time series 3-1.
Before starting conference play, Bryant clashes with another Ocean State foe, Providence, when the Friars host a single game March 26.
After a 26-road game stretch, softball comes home to Conaty Park for a weekend of NEC play on March 30 and 31 with Robert Morris and defending NEC champs, Saint Francis U. UMass Lowell (April 3), Rhode Island (April 10), Fairleigh Dickinson (April 13), Brown (April 23), Sacred Heart (April 28), and Siena (May 1) will all make trips to Smithfield this year as part of Bryant's 13-game home slate.
The Bulldogs only make trips to Wagner (April 7), LIU Brooklyn (April 14), Mount St. Mary's (April 19), and Central Connecticut (April 20) for the remainder of the regular season.
The NEC Softball Championships are set for May 9-12 at the home of the high seed. The championship will consist of a four-team, double-elimination tournament comprised of six or seven games over three days. The top four teams based on regular season conference winning percentage qualify for the NEC Tournament.
Follow the Bryant University softball team on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for a behind the scenes look at the program.