The college softball season is a little less than four months away, but Hawaii coach Bob Coolen has already scored a victory of sorts.
Since returning to the Big West in 2013, the Rainbow Wahine played Friday-Saturday conference series at home and Saturday-Sunday series on the road.
This season, all of UH’s Big West series will be on Fridays and Saturdays, home and away.
Coolen had lobbied for the change and the adjustment is subtle yet significant for the Wahine — who alternate weeks at home and on the road during the conference season — and gives them a true day off on Sundays.
“(The Big West teams) all agreed to go Friday-Saturday over here and they allowed me to do that on the road so we could come back Sunday and get into school on Monday,” Coolen said.
“I like Friday-Saturday. Sunday’s a less stressful day to travel. … There are so many different elements.”
In all, UH is scheduled to play 41 of its 56 regular-season games at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium and have four of its seven conference series at home.
The Rainbow Wahine will be well tested by the time the Big West season rolls around with a home series against UC Riverside starting March 27.
UH’s regular-season schedule released Thursday includes six nonconference tournaments, five at home, and nine teams that advanced to the NCAA tournament last spring.
“That will give us an indictation of where we’re at,” Coolen said. “We’ve got a lot of good preseason opponents.”
Oklahoma, the 2013 national champion, and reigning Big East champion DePaul join St. Mary’s and UH in the season-opening Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic Feb. 5-7.
The Pac-12 is well represented with UH set to face UCLA in Las Vegas in the Wilson/DeMarini Desert Classic and Washington, California, Oregon State and Utah scheduled to visit Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
The schedule will also bring in schools from the East Coast (Longwood, East Carolina, Virginia Tech, St. Bonaventure and Columbia) and Midwest (Western Illinois).
“I think we got parity from around the country with different conferences coming,” Coolen said. “I always take note of that when I commit to a team, what conference they’re in, and that gives us the regional representation that we need that the NCAA committee looks at.”
The only bye week in the schedule comes between UH’s last nonconference tournament and the Big West opener.
The Wahine open fall practice on Monday and will host the Kama’aina Classic (BYU-Hawaii, Chaminade, UH-Hilo) on Nov. 7-8 and play the alumnae game on Nov. 15.
UH’s regular season schedule is posted HERE.