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Fifth-year UTEP softball head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk announced the 2018 schedule on Friday.
The 54-game spring slate features 21 home contests, the most since 2016, while the Miners will face nine programs that competed in the 2017 NCAA Softball Tournament (Cal, James Madison, LA Tech, Longwood, Missouri, NM State, Ole Miss, Oregon and San Jose State). UTEP will take on the its I-10 rival NM State in a trio of contests, while Southeastern Conference power Ole Miss will make its way to the Sun City.
The 2018 season will open on Feb. 9 against SEC’s Missouri at the Kajikawa Tournament hosted by Arizona State in Tempe. The Miners will also face St. Mary’s College and Pac-12’s Oregon on Feb. 10, and UC Davis and San Jose State on Feb. 11.
The Marucci Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., is next on the slate, as UTEP will open against Nevada and Boise State on Feb. 16. The Miners will follow with contests against rival New Mexico and host school UNLV on Feb. 17, while the weekend will conclude against South Dakota on Sunday.
The Miners will then start a string of six home contests at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. The first will be against rival NM State in a single game on Feb. 20 (6 p.m.). The Orange and Blue will then host the UTEP Tournament – the first since 2014. UTEP will take on Echo-Hawk’s pervious school Portland State and Idaho State on Feb. 23 and again the next day.
The weekend will end against Portland State on Feb. 25. The neutral contests will include NM State playing Portland State and Idaho State on Feb. 23 and again on Feb. 24, and NM State versus Idaho State on Feb. 25.
UTEP will then take the road again for a six-game weekend, this time across the Pacific Ocean to the Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament in Honolulu, Hawai’i. The Miners face Cal and Longwood on March 1, James Madison on March 2, host school Hawai’i on March 3, and East Carolina and Hawai’i during the final day on March 4. The Miners last played in Hawai’i in 2015.
The team will then take the other coast, this time to the FAU Parents’ Weekend Tournament in Boca Raton, Fla. The Miners will play three contests – versus Stony Brook and Long Island on March 10 and then Rutgers on March 11. The team will stay in the Sunshine State to open Conference USA action against Florida Atlantic on March 12 in a double header. The Miners and Owls will conclude the league lid lifter on March 13.
The Miners will open their C-USA home slate against UAB on March 17 in a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. Sunday’s contest will start at noon.
All home league contests will be played on Saturday’s (doubleheaders start at 2 p.m.) and Sunday’s (noon start). The Miners will host UTSA (March 30-31), but not before heading to Las Cruces to take on NM State in a two-game set on March 27 (4 & 6 p.m.).
UTEP will play at Southern Miss (March 24-25), at WKU for the first time in school history (April 7-8) and at Middle Tennessee (April 28-29).
UTEP will host North Texas (April 14-15) and three other non-conference contests, with the first against New Mexico on April 16 (3 p.m.) and Ole Miss on April 20 (7 p.m.) and 21 (4 p.m.).
The regular season will end against LA Tech in El Paso on May 5-6. The Conference USA tournament will be played at Charlotte (May 9-12). UTEP’s 54 contests are the most since playing 55 games in 2016.