The opening day of Southern Miss’ softball season is now less than two weeks away, and the Golden Eagles are gearing up to take the field and begin their 2019 campaign. Coming off the first losing season of her collegiate career, senior catcher Samantha Papp—who was recently named a member of the preseason All-Conference USA team—is expected to take a leading role and help the Southern Miss return to its winning ways.
In order to do so, the team will have to maneuver through a pretty competitive schedule that features many familiar faces from last spring.
The action will begin in Hattiesburg on Friday, Feb. 8 when the Golden Eagles host the Black and Gold Invitational, featuring weekend matches against Houston Baptist, Central Arkansas, Tennessee Tech and Jackson State.
The following weekend Southern Miss will travel to Waco, Texas to compete in the Getterman Classic against UT Arlington, Baylor and Sam Houston State. The Golden Eagles will spend a weekend in Tuscaloosa as participants in the Easton Crimson Classic with games versus Saint Francis, Alabama and Michigan State.
In between the three weekend events, Southern Miss will also see action against Nicholls State, Alcorn State, Jacksonville State and Southeastern Louisiana.
Then comes the meat and potatoes of the schedule in early March, when the Golden Eagles will begin battling against C-USA opponents. They will host home series against Florida Atlantic, Marshall, UTSA and Louisiana Tech. Southern Miss’ conference road schedule will consist of weekend trips to North Texas, UTEP, UAB and Florida International.
A handful of mid-week contests will also be played throughout the month against non-conference foes, including Alabama State, South Alabama and Ole Miss.
For the Golden Eagles, a big emphasis will be placed on taking care of business at home. The team’s 14-17 home record in 2018 left them unable to weather the storm of a 3-15 record on the road and a 2-4 record in games played at neutral sites.
Conference games at home will be especially crucial, as the Golden Eagles were 2-7 last year against conference opponents that will be coming to Hattiesburg for weekend series this time around. Winning a majority of those contests will be vital to the team’s overall success and hopes of returning to postseason competition.
The journey will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8 when Southern Miss takes on Houston Baptist in its opening game to kick off the Black and Gold Invitational.