CLEARWATER, Fla. – A talented field of 18 teams, including four in the national rankings, will assemble and attract fans from all over this weekend at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater for eighth annual Eckerd College Spring Invitational starting on Friday. Saint Leo (1-3) will make the short trek to Clearwater all weekend to compete in five games over three days, opening with a Friday afternoon game on at 4:30 p.m.
All nine of the Sunshine State Conference members will be competing along with several new schools added to the fold including Armstrong Atlantic State (Ga.) University, Lee (Tenn.) University and Shorter (Ga.) College.
No. 5 Armstrong Atlantic State, No. 6 Valdosta State (Ga.) University, No. 13 University of Tampa and No. 24 Barry University, are in the first edition of the NFCA national rankings.
Non-SSC schools returning to the tournament include Colorado Christian University, Flagler College, Lindenwood (Mo.) University, Palm Beach Atlantic University and the University of West Florida.
A total of 47 games are scheduled to be played on seven different fields with tournament action beginning Friday morning at 11:30 a.m.
A continued partnership from Eckerd College, softball head coach Josh Beauregard and the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, is one of the reasons the invitational attracted record numbers for teams this year.
"We're excited our tournament has expanded up to 18 teams this year and we're going to feature some of the best talent from the Southeast Region," Beauregard said. "We feel like we're putting on a premier Division II tournament that attracts the top schools from around the country."
The Eddie C. Moore Complex is located at 3050 Drew St. in Clearwater and a map of the facility's layout is available for fans. Admission at the gates for the tournament is $8 for a single day, $15 for the weekend (Friday/Saturday) and an all-inclusive pass for all three days is set for $20.
The Lions will open on Friday afternoon against the Lee University Flames (1-0) at 4:30 on Field 3, and follow up with a 7:00 p.m. game on Field 3 against the Shorter University Hawks (2-2). On Saturday, the Lions will start the day off at 1:30 on Field 4 with a game against the Flagler College Saints (2-4), and later square off against the University of West Florida Argonauts (1-4) at 4:00 p.m. on Field 3. On Sunday, to end the tournament, the Lions will face No. 5 Armstrong Atlantic Pirates (1-0) on Field 4 at 12:30.
For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo softball team, be sure to visit SaintLeoLions.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.