NORMAN, Okla. – University of Oklahoma baseball coach Pete Hughes announced his team’s schedule for the upcoming 2014 season. This season’s schedule features nine games against three teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, including the Bedlam Series, which begins on April 1 in Norman.
The slate is also filled with nine teams in the Top-75 RPI and eight teams with 35 wins or more. An additional eight teams competed in the NCAA Tournament just two seasons ago in 2012.
“There is a lot be excited about the challenges presented by our 2014 schedule,” said Hughes. “I believe we have improved the strength of our schedule to be worthy of hosting a regional and becoming a National seed. The cleanest road to Omaha is earning a National seed. That will be our goal every year and our schedule will reflect that.”
The Sooners, who posted a 25-6 record at home in 2013, will play at home for 33 of its 56-game regular season schedule.
“I am really excited about our home schedule and the teams that will be accessible to the Sooner baseball family. Bringing teams from coast-to-coast to play in Norman will help expand the OU baseball footprint.”
The Sooners open the season with five games at L. Dale Mitchell Field, beginning with a three-game series against Seton Hall, which finished the season 44th in the RPI with a 37-19 record, February 14-16 and followed by a two-game set against Arkansas Pine Bluff, February 18-19.
The first road contests for Oklahoma take place February 21-23 at the Central Florida Tournament in Orlando, Fla. The Sooners face the host Knights along with Ohio State and Citadel, both of which posted 35-win seasons and finished in the RPI Top-75.
The following weekend, Oklahoma will be back on the road a four-game tournament at Arizona State, February 27 to March 2. The Sun Devils, who took part in the Los Angeles Regional and finished 20th in the RPI with a 37-22 mark, will be the first of three opponents which played in the NCAA Tournament. The Sooners will also take on Manhattan, Gonzaga and Santa Clara in Surprise, Ariz.
Oklahoma then returns home for a five-game home stand, starting with two games against Abilene Christian, March 4-5 and a three-game series against Rutgers, March 7-9. Despite a 28-30 record, the Scarlet Knights finished 66th in the RPI.
On March 11, the Sooners travel down to the Ballpark in Arlington, the home of the Texas Rangers, to face Texas-Arlington. The Mavericks went 31-27 in 2013 and are only a season removed from the NCAA Tournament in 2012.
The home slate picks up again immediately for three games against Belmont, which won 38 games a year ago and made the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and 2012, March 14-16 plus non-conference tilts against TCU and Arkansas Little Rock on March 18 and 19.
Oklahoma continues its home stand when it opens Big 12 play against Kansas State, March 21-23. The two teams last met in Big 12 Championship pool play; a 7-6 win for the Sooners. The Wildcats, who finished 45-19 and 16th in the RPI, are OU’s second NCAA Tournament opponent after winning the Manhattan Regional and advancing to the Super Regionals.
Next up, is a road game at intrastate rival Oral Roberts on March 25 followed by a road series at Kansas, March 28-30. Oklahoma defeated the Jayhawks, 7-2, in the Big 12 Championship game to win its first conference title since 1997. Kansas’ season ended at 34-25 and 66th in the RPI.
April 1 marks game one of the Bedlam Series as Oklahoma State visits L. Dale Mitchell Field. The Cowboys, who went 41-19 and finished 52nd in the RPI, are the third NCAA Tournament opponent to appear on the Sooners’ slate after playing in the Louisville Regional in 2013.
“Lastly, I think it is tremendous for baseball in our state to have OU and OSU playing each other 5 times,” stated Hughes. “Between Norman, Stillwater, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, it is great for the state of Oklahoma baseball to see two NCAA Tournament caliber programs taking its series to the great venues and cities of the state.”
During a bye week in Big 12 action, Oklahoma stays home to host Cal State Bakersfield, April 4-6. The home stand continues with a rematch against Oral Roberts on April 8 and a three-game set against Texas, April 11-13. Last season, the Sooners won the series with the Longhorns in Austin for the first time since 1997.
Oklahoma then visits Stillwater for game two with Oklahoma State on April 15, followed by a three-game home series against West Virginia, April 18-20.
Big 12 play continues as the Sooners hit the road for a series at Texas Tech, April 25-27, and continues after a home game against Dallas Baptist on April 29 when they host Baylor, May 2-4.
TCU marks the final road series of the regular season, May 9-11 and Dallas Baptist is the final non-conference match-up of the season on the road on May 13.
The Bedlam Series amps up on May 15 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City and moves on to ONEOK Field in Tulsa on May 16 and 17.
The Big 12 Championship is scheduled for its 10th straight season in Bricktown, May 21-25.