NORMAN, Okla. -- University of Oklahoma Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Programs and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione and Oklahoma softball head coach Patty Gasso have announced the Sooners’ 2014 softball schedule.
The defending national champion Sooners are scheduled to face off against 11 different teams that qualified for postseason play a year ago, including four teams that joined them in the Women’s College World Series. Of the team’s 56 games, 30 are to be played in Norman at Marita Hynes Stadium.
Oklahoma is looking to become the first team to repeat as national champions since Arizona in 2006 and 2007.
The season kicks off for Oklahoma Feb. 7-9 at the Easton Tournament in Fullerton, Calif. The Sooners open the 2014 season Feb. 7 against a Kentucky squad that fell in the Super Regionals in 2013. That contest is followed by a matchup against host-Cal State Fullerton, while the rest of the weekend has the Sooners meeting Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount and Pittsburgh.
Arguably the toughest tournament field of the season awaits Oklahoma the following weekend in Phoenix at the Littlewood Classic. Three of OU’s five opponents in the tournament reached the postseason in 2013, including Arizona State and Washington, who each reached the WCWS. Also in the field are Michigan State, Delaware State and Regional-participant LSU.
Palm Springs, Calif., is the site for OU’s final tournament road trip, Feb. 20-22. The Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic features a pair of NCAA Regional teams in Oregon State and UCLA, while Boise State, Northwestern and Syracuse round out the competition for Oklahoma.
The Sooners’ home opener is scheduled for Saturday, March 1 as fellow WCWS-participant Nebraska comes to Norman for a doubleheader as part of the Spring Preview tournament. The following day has Arkansas-Pine Bluff visiting for another twinbill.
After hosting Louisiana Tech on March 4, Oklahoma travels to face off against Arkansas March 5. Last year, the Sooners defeated the Razorbacks to win the Norman Regional.
Oklahoma then returns home March 7-9 as it welcomes Western Illinois, Tulsa and Liberty in the Courtyard Marriott Tournament before heading to Lafayette, La., to meet Louisiana-Lafayette in a three-game non-conference series. The Ragin’ Cajuns advanced as far as the Super Regionals a year ago.
The Sooners return home March 18 to meet Bradley before facing LSU again in a two-game tilt March 22-23. The four-game homestand then concludes on March 26 when the Mean Green of North Texas visit Marita Hynes Stadium.
Big 12 play begins for Oklahoma March 28-30 when the team travels north to Ames, Iowa, to meet Iowa State.
The first Bedlam game of the year against Oklahoma State will kick off a five-game swing in Norman April 2. After facing the Cowgirls, OU then takes on Kansas in a weekend series before Wichita State comes for a doubleheader April 8.
After visiting Regional-participant Baylor for a three-game set April 11-13, Oklahoma returns to Norman for a season-long 10-game homestand. It starts April 17-19 with a series against Texas, whom the Sooners went 3-1 against last year, including a 10-2 win in the WCWS.
The Sooners then step out of conference play for a single game against Central Arkansas April 22 and a three-game series against UAB April 26-27.
Texas Tech visits Norman May 2-4 before OU wraps up the regular season with its final two games against Oklahoma State. The May 10 matchup will be played in Stillwater, while the season finale May 11 is set to be played in Norman.The NCAA Regionals will be played on campus sites May 16-18, while Super Regionals are set for May 23-25. The 2014 Women’s College World Series runs from May 28-June 4 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.