Five non-conference tournaments, 38 home games, and a brand new conference format highlight the 2013 Stetson University softball schedule, which was released on Friday.
All 53 regular season games can be seen or heard for free on HatterVision or ASun.TV.
The Hatters open the 2013 campaign by welcoming two schools from BCS conferences to the Stetson Lead-Off Classic, Feb. 8-10 at Patricia Wilson Field. Michigan State from the Big Ten Conference and SEC foe South Carolina will each challenge the Hatters twice during the first two days of the season.
Stetson will meet the Gamecocks again the following weekend (Feb. 15-16) in the first of three games at the UCF Holiday Inn Select Tournament in Orlando. The Hatters will also match up against Texas-Arlington and Buffalo.
The Hatter Classic (Feb. 22-24) kicks off a 16-game homestand as Stetson welcomes Bethune-Cookman and Dartmouth for a pair of games each.
Stetson's annual "Strikeout Cancer" game will be played against UCF on Feb. 27 at 6 p.m.
Detroit and Niagara head to DeLand for the Stetson Invitational (Mar. 1-3), while Colgate, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Valparaiso will provide the competition for the Hatters' final regular season tournament, the Stetson Classic (Mar. 8-10).
Colgate returns for a midweek doubleheader (Mar. 13) before Atlantic Sun Conference play begins at Florida Gulf Coast (Mar. 16-17). The new conference format features a three-game series spread over two days, with a doubleheader played on one of the days and a single game on the other day. The new format adds nine conference games to the schedule and provides a direct tiebreaker for two teams tied in the conference standings at the end of the season.
Stetson briefly returns to non-conference action for a pair of midweek games against Cornell (Mar. 19) and Marshall (Mar. 20) before returning to conference play for the remainder of the season.
The Hatters will play five of their nine A-Sun games at home, including series against Mercer (Mar. 23-24), Northern Kentucky (Mar. 29-30), Kennesaw State (Apr. 13-14), ETSU (Apr. 20-21), and a split series against North Florida (Apr. 17 and May 1). In addition to the FGCU trip, Stetson will travel to USC Upstate (Apr. 6-7), Jacksonville (Apr. 10, 24), and Lipscomb (Apr. 27-28).
Should Stetson finish among the top six teams in the conference, the Hatters will return to Nashville May 8-11 for the 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference championship, hosted by Lipscomb University for the first time. Northern Kentucky is not eligible for postseason play during their four-year transition to NCAA Division I status. The winner of the A-Sun Championship will receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The championship game will be broastcast by ESPN3.
Stetson's 2013 squad features a class of nine veterans and seven newcomers including six freshmen. The Hatters were 26-22 in 2012, and advanced to the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Tournament.