St. George-- Southern Utah University opens its softball season this weekend when the Thunderbirds face Utah Valley University at the Dixie State College field in St. George.
Games are set at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
SUU lost 10 athletes to graduation last year, but returns 12 including second-team all-Summit League pitcher Heather Black and Summit League all-tournament team member Madison Resley. Newcomers include Canadian National team member Tessa Loewen, Canadian Kelsey Bryant and two-time junior college all-American Mikkel Griffin.
A year ago, SUU qualified as the fourth seed in the Summit League tournament, finishing the season with a 25-24 record, including a 14-10 league record.
UVU finished third place in the Mountain Division of the Pacific Coast Softball Conference a year ago with a 12-8 conference mark and an overall record of 20-30.