WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Softball season is upon us as Purdue begins its preseason practices Tuesday, Jan. 9, in preparation for the 2018 season. The Boilermakers travel to six non-conference tournaments before their home debut March 23, when they host Illinois to open Big Ten play.
"I am excited to announce our 2018 schedule," said second-year head coach Boo De Oliveira. "We have a competitive schedule, playing some of the top teams in the country. I feel that our preseason games will greatly help prepare us for our Big Ten Conference play."
Altogether Purdue's schedule features 21 games against teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament last season, including 18 Top 50 RPI opponents. Twelve of those matchups against 2017 NCAA Tournament teams are Big Ten opponents as the Boilermakers will face Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The two toughest challenges on Purdue's slate are non-conference tests against LSU and Kentucky. The Wildcats hosted a regional last year and were bounced in the Super Regional, while the Tigers fell in the College World Series.
"Part of our GFDF Team Culture is the belief that 'Boilermakers expect to win.' We will play each game competing one pitch at a time, focusing on the little things. We strive to represent Purdue and the Big Ten Conference with integrity."
Purdue begins the 2018 season Feb. 9 in Tempe, Arizona, with the Kajikawa Classic, in which three of its five games are against programs that went to the NCAA Tournament last season. The Boilermakers will take on Arizona State and San Jose State on opening day, followed by Western Michigan, South Dakota and Fresno State.
The following week marks the third-annual Big Ten/ACC Softball Challenge in Durham, North Carolina. Duke is the host site in the university's inaugural season competing in collegiate softball. The Boilermakers have a 3-5 record in the history of the challenge and will square off with Duke and Virginia Tech two times each.
The Boilermakers will proceed to take on Kentucky, McNeese State, LSU, Saint Francis (Pa.) and Oklahoma State over the course of the next four weeks. All five teams earned bids to the NCAA Tournament last season.
Purdue's non-conference slate will prepare it for the second half of the season that features 15 home games, including the Big Ten opening series with Illinois beginning March 23 and a doubleheader against Indiana on April 25. The Boilermakers will also square off with Notre Dame for the first time since 2012 on March 28 in South Bend, Indiana. Purdue softball season tickets go on sale Monday, Jan. 15.