WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW softball team opens the home portion of its 2014 schedule this weekend as it welcomes Liberty, Norfolk State, UMBC and UNCG to Boseman Field for the Seahawk Invitational.

Due to inclement weather in the region this week, the tournament will now feature five teams playing a total of eight games over the course of two days. UNCW opens the tournament Saturday with games against UMBC (10 a.m.) and Norfolk State (Noon) while Retrievers and Spartans will face Liberty at 2 and 4 p.m., respectively. Sunday’s action gets underway with UMBC and Norfolk State at 10 a.m. and also features a Noon contest between Norfolk State and UNCG. The Seahawks close out the tournament with Sunday afternoon games versus Liberty (2 p.m.) and UMBC (4 p.m.)

The Seahawks open their 31-game home slate this weekend after beginning the 2014 season with a 1-2 finish in the Charleston Southern Softball Tournament that saw the Seahawks post a season-opening 7-0 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore before falling to host Charleston Southern in extra innings, 2-1, and Elon, 8-3, to close out the event.

Freshmen Nella Chamblee and Peyton Jordan both had solid starts to their respective collegiate careers as Chamblee was 4-of-7 at the plate to power a Seahawks lineup that finished the weekend with 19 hits, including 10 for extra bases. Jordan, the CAA Rookie-of-the-Week, did not allow an earned run in 12.1 innings in the circle as she finished with 10 strikeouts and just two walks.  

Liberty makes its way to the Port City still looking for its first victory of the season after beginning the 2014 season with a 0-5 record in the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational last weekend. Junior Kelby Allen and senior Katie Zavodny have led the Lady Flames attack in the early going with five hits apiece, with Allen recording three of the team’s five extra-base hits thus far. In the circle, Liberty has relied upon the trio of senior Alyssa DiMartino, junior Chandler Ball and sophomore Annah Brittingham, who combined for a 4.35 ERA and 19 strikeouts during the opening weekend. The Lady Flames are coached by Dot Richardson, a member of the United States national team that won the gold medal in softball’s Olympic debut in 1996.

Norfolk State also gets its 2014 campaign underway this weekend looking to build off a 2013 campaign that saw the Spartans 31-22 overall record and advance to the finals of the MEAC tournament for just the second time in school history. Junior Haley Ward, last year's Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Year, is back after finishing the season second in the nation with a .482 batting average while also setting school records for hits (68), doubles (21) and total bases (114). Senior hurler Jamie Schulle enters her third season anchoring Head Coach Heidi Cavallo’s pitching staff after an All-MEAC performance last year that saw her go 21-13 with a 3.11 ERA in 200.0 innings of work.

UMBC will open its 2014 season this weekend with 12 letterwinners from its 2013 squad that posted an 11-41 record. Junior catcher Taylor Hall and sophomore utility player Danielle O'Neill each return to veteran Head Coach Joe French’s lineup after garnering postseason recognition from the America East last season. Hall, a First-Team All-America selection, posted team-highs with a .367 batting average, 35 RBI, 51 hits and seven home runs while O’Neill, a Second-Team pick, hit .285 to go along with a team-best 10 doubles and 19 RBI.

UNCW continues its regular-season tournament schedule next weekend with in the Gamecock Invitational, where it will face Gardner-Webb, Georgetown, Michigan State and host South Carolina during the three-day event.