NORMAN, Okla. University of Oklahoma Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione and OU softball head coach Patty Gasso announced the Sooners’ 2006 regular season schedule on Wednesday.
OU will play a minimum of 57 games and face 15 teams from last season’s NCAA postseason field, including Women’s College World Series participants Alabama, Texas and UCLA. Sooner fans will be able to enjoy 30 home contests, including three tournaments, at the OU Softball Complex.
“We start off the season attacking with a tough tournament in Las Vegas,” Gasso said. “From there, it doesn’t get any easier as we face a challenging schedule from top to bottom. However, we’re excited about the opportunities this challenging schedule presents, including some great home match ups for our fans to come and see.”
OU will open the season in Las Vegas, Nev., for the UNLV Alexis Resort Kickoff Classic (Feb. 10-12) where the play is highlighted by games against Washington and Kentucky.
Following the tournament, Oklahoma will play a doubleheader in its home opener against Central Arkansas Wednesday, Feb. 15. The Sooners will remain in Norman as they host the OU/Nike Classic Feb. 17-19 which will include match ups against Indiana, Nevada and North Dakota State.
OU rounds out the month of February with a trip to the Palm Springs Invitational (Feb. 23-26) in Palm Springs, Calif. The Sooners open the tournament against Oregon, who the Sooners defeated last season in NCAA regional play.
In March, OU will be back in action at the OU Softball Complex in the OU Invitational (March 4-5) which will feature a highly touted match up against Louisiana State with Troy State joining the three-team tournament.
The following weekend, Oklahoma will host its final tournament of the season, the OU Worth Tournament, slated for March 10-12. During OU/Worth play, the Sooners will face Utah Valley State, North Texas and McNeese State, twice.
Oklahoma will round out the final tournament of the season at the annual Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif. (March 15-19) with games against Utah, Alabama and Fresno State in pool play.
The 18-game Big 12 schedule is highlighted by home contests with Missouri, Texas and Kansas. The road portion features trips to Nebraska, Texas A&M, Baylor and Iowa State.
The annual Bedlam series will begin in Stillwater on April 5 and conclude in Norman on April 26. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
“As usual the Big 12 is going to be a dominating conference this season and will be extremely difficult week in and week out,” Gasso said. “You have to play the best teams if you want to be the best and we are certainly going to be challenging ourselves throughout the entire Big 12 schedule this season.”
Postseason play begins with the Big 12 Tournament, which runs from May 10-13, and will be played at the Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
For the second consecutive season, the NCAA tournament begins with four-team NCAA Regionals that will be hosted at 16 sites from May 19-21. NCAA Super Regionals will feature (May 26-27) two teams in a best-of-three format at eight different sites.
The Women’s College World Series, played in Oklahoma City, will run June 1-7 with the final two days featuring a best-of-three format between the final two teams.