Redbirds Release 2013 Schedule
Melinda Fischer
Melinda Fischer

Jan. 7, 2013

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NORMAL, Ill. - Looking to make its fourth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, the Illinois State softball team will continue its tradition of playing a challenging schedule in 2013, as announced by head coach Melinda Fischer Monday afternoon. The Redbirds will play a total of 15 games against teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2012, including tilts with Women's College World Series (WCWS) participants Arizona State and South Florida.

In addition to the Sun Devils and Bulls, the Redbirds will play three teams that made it to the Super Regional round of the tournament, and seven that participated in the Regional state. The slate features 55 games overall, including 16 at Marian Kneer Stadium in Normal, Ill.

"The Missouri Valley Conference is a great league, so playing this type of schedule helps us prepare for those games," Fischer said, as she enters her 28th season at the helm of the Redbirds. "It also helps raise the profile of the league across the country, which is always a positive thing."

The Redbirds' first 25 games will be played away from home at five separate tournaments. They will begin the season by participating in the Getterman Classic on the campus of Baylor from Feb. 7-9. The Redbirds will take on the hosts, a regional participant last season, twice. ISU will also face Sam Houston State two times and in-state foe Northern Illinois once.

The next trip is to the Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Ariz., hosted by Arizona State, from Feb. 15-17. The tournament is highlighted by a game against the host Sun Devils, a 2012 WCWS participant and the 2011 national champion. The Redbirds will also square off against Minnesota twice and Michigan State and UIC once.

The NFCA Lead Off Classic in Clearwater, Fla., features the toughest field of the Redbirds' five preseason tournaments. From Feb. 22-24, the Redbirds will play South Florida, a 2012 WCWS participant, Hofstra, Louisiana-Lafayette and Michigan, who made it to the Super Regional stage in 2012, and Massachusetts, a 2012 Regional opponent of the Redbirds. UC Davis rounds out ISU's competition that weekend.

The Redbirds head to Florida for the second-straight weekend from March 1-3, this time to Orlando to participate in the Disney Citrus Classic. The Redbirds will again take on the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette, in addition to 2012 NCAA Tournament participants LIU Brooklyn and Texas A&M. ISU will also play games against Georgetown and James Madison.

Rounding out the Redbirds' pre-conference schedule will be four games in Louisville, Ky., from March 9-10. ISU will again take on the Wolverines of Michigan, in addition to 2012 NCAA Tournament participants Louisville and Miami (Ohio). Austin Peay rounds out the four-team field.

The Redbirds begin the quest for their 13th Missouri Valley Conference regular season title by hosting rival Bradley for three games from March 16-17. ISU then travels to Omaha, Neb., from March 23-24 for three games against Creighton, before returning home for eight-straight games. The Redbirds will welcome Illinois to Marian Kneer Stadium on March 27, before a three-game set against Southern Illinois, March 29-30. ISU will take on Northern Illinois for the second time of the season April 3, before three more Valley games against Missouri State, April 6-7.

ISU plays its final non-conference game of the season at 2012 Regional opponent DePaul on April 9. The Redbirds then travel to Drake for a three-game set April 13-14, before hosting Indiana State for a pair of midweek games on April 17. Up next is a trip to Wichita State for three games, April 20-21, before finishing the series with the Sycamores in Terre Haute, Ind., April 25. The final three home games of the season will be against Northern Iowa from April 27-28, before the Redbirds close out the regular season with three games at Evansville, May 4-5.

The 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Softball Tournament will be held in Omaha, Neb., from May 9-11. The NCAA Tournament begins May 17.

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