NORMAN – The 2018 schedule for the two-time defending national champion University of Oklahoma softball team has been unveiled, head coach Patty Gasso and Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione announced Tuesday.
The slate features 54 regular season games total with 22 coming at home. OU also plays a total of 26 games against 17 opponents that reached the postseason a year ago, including a Women’s College World Series rematch with Oregon.
It’ll be the 24th season for the Sooners under the direction of Gasso. OU has reached the postseason in each of her previous 23 seasons, including eight straight trips to the Super Regionals, 11 appearances overall in the Women’s College World Series and four national titles.
Oklahoma is looking to join UCLA (1988-90) as the only programs to win three consecutive national championships.
The season starts for the Sooners Feb. 9-11 at the Grand Canyon University Kickoff Tournament in Phoenix, Ariz. Oklahoma begins the year against Weber State before facing Grand Canyon and defending Big Sky champion Montana. Following a rematch with the host-Lopes, the Sooners wrap up tournament play against Pacific.
From there, Oklahoma takes part in the Troy Cox Classic, Feb. 16-18, on the campus of New Mexico State for the second time in three years. In addition to two games against the host-Aggies, who are coming off a WAC Tournament title, OU is scheduled to face Ball State and Boston.
OU then makes its annual trip to the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., Feb. 22-24, where it will face a daunting field that features four teams that reached the postseason a year ago. After opening against Arizona State, the Sooners step out of NCAA play to take on the Japanese National Team in an exhibition contest. OU then faces BYU and North Carolina before closing out against an Arizona squad that is coming off an appearance in the Super Regionals.
The Sooners open their home schedule on March 2-3 as Missouri State and Abilene Christian visit Norman in the first of two tournaments that OU will host in 2018.
The team’s 10-game homestand continues with a midweek tilt versus reigning Northeast Conference champions Saint Francis on March 7. OU’s second home tournament then takes place the following weekend, March 9-11, when Illinois State, Indiana and 2017 NCAA Tournament participant South Carolina come to Marita Hynes Field.
Oklahoma makes a return trip to California, March 16-18, for the Easton Tournament hosted by Cal State Fullerton. OU faces Cal State Northridge twice, takes on postseason veterans DePaul and Ohio State, perennial opponent Nebraska and the host-Titans over the course of four days.
In addition to a contest at North Texas on March 21, Oklahoma also has midweek matchups with Wichita State on April 11 in Norman and at Tulsa on April 17.
For OU’s final non-conference games of the season, the team will travel to the Pacific Northwest where it will play at Oregon on April 19 and at Oregon State on April 20-21.
Oklahoma begins its quest for an unprecedented seventh straight Big 12 title as it opens league play with a three-game series in Norman against Texas Tech on March 23.
The conference schedule also sees OU hosting Kansas (April 13-15), Texas (April 27-29) and a pair of Bedlam matchups with Oklahoma State (May 2 and 5). OU will be on the road within the conference at Baylor (March 29-31), Iowa State (April 6-8) and Oklahoma State (May 4).
Postseason play begins May 11-12 as Oklahoma looks to defend its Big 12 Tournament title at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. The 2018 NCAA Regionals are then scheduled for May 18-20 at campus sites, while the Super Regionals are also scheduled to take place at campus sites from May 24-27. The 2018 Women’s College World Series will be held in Oklahoma City from May 31 through June 6.