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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- First-year head softball coach Lori Perez announced Sacramento State's 2014 schedule today.

The Hornets open the season on Saturday, Feb. 8, for a road doubleheader at Pacific and close the regular season with a three-game series at Weber State on April 25-26.

The Hornets do not open at home until Tuesday, March 4, when the team hosts Causeway rival UC Davis at 1:30 p.m. In fact, Sacramento State will play its first 15 games of the season away from home until that matchup with the Aggies.

Besides the opener at Pacific, the 15-game run away from home will also include a matchup at UC Davis (Feb. 12) and appearances at tournaments hosted by Fresno State, Santa Clara and Saint Mary's over a stretch of three straight weekends.

After the home opener against the Aggies on March 4, Sacramento State will play at a tournament hosted by Cal Poly and a doubleheader at Nevada on March 12. That amounts to 21 of the team's first 22 games away from home.

However, on March 15, the Hornets begin a stretch that will see the team play 11 of their next 12 games at Shea Stadium, including an eight-game homestand from March 15-22. The homestand will include a three-game series against CSU Bakersfield, a doubleheader against Princeton, and the team's Big Sky Conference opening three-game set against North Dakota on March 21-22.

After playing at Cal for a single game on March 26, the Hornets host conference rival Southern Utah on March 28-29. Other Big Sky series the rest of the way include three games on the road at Northern Colorado (April 4-5), Idaho State (April 11-12) and Weber State (April 25-26). The Hornets' final home series of the season will come against Portland State on April 18-19.

The Big Sky begins its second year of softball and will, once again, have seven teams in the league. The top four squads advance to the Big Sky Championship, which will take place May 8-10 at the home of the regular season champion. Sacramento State was the No. 4 seed at last season's tournament hosted by Idaho State.

The Hornets return 16 players from last season's team which finished 22-22 overall and 7-8 in the Big Sky. Among those 16 returners are seven players that started more than 20 games, not to mention the entire pitching staff. That includes four players that received all-league accolades last season in junior pitcher Caitlin Brooks (first team), junior right fielder Paige Martin (honorable mention), sophomore catcher Kortney Solis (honorable mention) and sophomore infielder Alyssa Vanderdrink (honorable mention).

February 5, 2014 2014 SOFTBALL SEASON OUTLOOK