2024 FAU Joan Joyce Classic

Michigan Softball Looks For Hot Start At FAU Joan Joyce Classic

Michigan Softball Looks For Hot Start At FAU Joan Joyce Classic

Here's everything you need to know about the FAU Joan Joyce Classic, featuring Michigan, Louisville and Seton Hall.

Jan 19, 2024 by Briar Napier
Michigan Softball Looks For Hot Start At FAU Joan Joyce Classic

Held in honor of a college softball legend, the FAU Joan Joyce Classic has become another way to remember and cherish the life of a sporting icon.

There’s no more fitting way to do so than by getting dirty on the softball diamond under the Florida sun, which five talented teams will do from Feb. 15-18 in Boca Raton, Florida.

The Florida Atlantic University Owls, as they usually do early in the season, will be the hosts of a series of events to help kick off the college softball season, but the Joan Joyce Classic, in particular, holds a special meaning to so many. Without her, FAU softball likely wouldn’t be what it is today.

Joyce may be no longer with us (she died in 2022), but the softball being played in her honor in mid-February will be a worthy tribute.

Here’s everything you need to know regarding the FAU Joan Joyce Classic, which will be streamed live on FloSoftball:

What Teams Are Playing In The FAU Joan Joyce Classic?

  • FAU
  • Michigan
  • Louisville
  • Seton Hall
  • Maine

Beyond host FAU, Michigan, Louisville, Seton Hall and Maine will all be competing in the 2024 edition of the FAU Joan Joyce Classic. Only FAU played in the event in 2023.

The Michigan Wolverines, like the Owls, are in the first few years of adjustment with a new coach who succeeded a legend. 

Carol Hutchins, the winningest coach in college softball history, retired following the 2022 campaign. Her legendary career included 38 seasons in Ann Arbor, after which longtime assistant Bonnie Tholl took over. 

Unfortunately, the Wolverines’ start in a new era didn’t go to plan, as they missed out on the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 1994.

Then there’s reigning BIG EAST Championship winner Seton Hall on the other side of the equation as a team on the rise, featuring a squad that was a 42-win team last season and got a host of stars back from the program’s first NCAA Regional appearance since 2005. 

Louisville also is a returning NCAA Tournament team, having won 16 games in a strong Atlantic Coast Conference a year ago.

Who Was Joan Joyce?

A legend never to be forgotten at Florida Atlantic and beyond, Joyce spent 28 seasons as the Owls’ softball coach and racked up 1,002 career wins – along with inductions into numerous halls of fame—before her death in March 2022. 

An incredible athlete who played for the United States’ women’s national team at one point and competed in professional golf in the LPGA for nearly two full decades, Joyce’s most decorated sport unquestionably was softball, mainly with the Raybestos Brakettes in Connecticut. 

On the diamond, as a pitcher, she put up mythical and unshakable numbers of 150 no-hitters and 50 perfect games. She even struck out all-time great baseball player Ted Williams in an exhibition in 1961. 

Joyce’s legacy, all told, is unrivaled in college softball, and her name deservedly is bestowed as the name of FAU’s home field and as the namesake of one of its home events. The sports world may never see another figure like her ever again.

Players To Watch At The FAU Joan Joyce Classic

Kelsey Carr, RHP/INF, Seton Hall

Only two players in the country held an ERA under 2.00 while hitting at least 10 home runs and garnering at least 50 RBIs last season—Clemson All-American Valerie Cagle and Seton Hall’s do-it-all-star, Carr. 

Shoulder surgery prevented the New Yorker from suiting up at all in 2022 following a promising freshman season, but when Carr returned, she returned with an exclamation point. 

The reigning BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and two-way standout was one of the most entertaining players in all of college softball and the engine behind the Pirates’ epic run back to the NCAA Tournament after an 18-year drought, leading the team with 13 home runs and showing off her clutch gene, too, allowing just one run in a complete-game performance in the title-game win of the BIG EAST tourney against Villanova. 

Lauren Derkowski, LHP, Michigan

A lot of college softball pitchers would be happy with one no-hitter in their careers, but Derkowski picked up two last season. In back-to-back starts. 

Yep, in an April conference series against Purdue, Derkowski got the start on the mound on consecutive days against the Boilermakers and delivered, tallying 20 strikeouts across the two no-nos, which helped her become the first Wolverine in history to pitch two no-hitters in a row. 

Those types of performances helped garner the now-junior an All-Big Ten second-team selection, as she went 18-14 with a 2.12 ERA. She also finished in the top 15 nationally, and second in the Big Ten, with 223 strikeouts. 

Michigan softball doesn’t intend to be out of the NCAA Tournament picture for long, and with Derkowski already having a year under her belt as the Wolverines’ ace—and a penchant for being near-unhittable at points—it won’t be surprising to see UM back in the fray and competing in yet another NCAA regional with Derkowski firing away on the mound. 

How To Watch The 2024 FAU Joan Joyce Classic

Watch the 2024 FAU Joan Joyce Classic on FloSoftball and the FloSports app.

FloSoftball will be streaming several NCAA Division I College Softball tournaments including the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, THE Spring Games, and the Mark Campbell Collegiate Invitational

2024 FAU Joan Joyce Classic Schedule

All times Eastern

*FAU games not broadcasted on FloSoftball.

Friday, Feb. 16

  • 9 a.m. – Seton Hall vs. Michigan
  • 11:30 a.m. – Seton Hall vs. Louisville
  • 2 p.m. – Maine vs. Michigan

Saturday, Feb. 17

  • 9 a.m. – Maine vs. Seton Hall
  • 11:15 a.m. – Louisville vs. Maine
  • 3:45 p.m. – Michigan vs. Louisville

More About The FAU Joan Joyce Classic

The FAU Joan Joyce Classic will take place from Feb. 15-18, part of a series of softball events Florida Atlantic will host over the course of the first month of the 2024 season. The schedule also includes the FAU Paradise Classic (Feb. 8-11) and the Owl Classic (Feb. 22-25).

It is the second time the Owls are hosting an event under the Joan Joyce Classic moniker, as the 2023 edition was the inaugural event. 

The Joan Joyce Classic, featuring a mix of power-conference and mid-major competition, will be streamed live, and exclusively, on FloSoftball. 

Where Is The FAU Joan Joyce Classic?

The FAU Joan Joyce Classic will see all of its games take place at the aptly-named Joan Joyce Field (renamed from FAU Softball Stadium in April 2023) on the Florida Atlantic campus in Boca Raton, Florida.

A popular location in a popular state for early-season events due to its tropical weather, Boca Raton typically reaches daily temperature highs in the mid-to-high 70s in February, so for the cold-climate teams paying a visit to the Sunshine State, they’ll get to play in more enjoyable conditions, while also exposing themselves to some nonconference tests—a pleasurable business trip, if you will.

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