SERIES PREVIEW • No. 14 Oklahoma begins the 2013 season with a four-game set against Hofstra Feb. 15-17 at L. Dale Mitchell Park. • Friday’s opener at 3 p.m. CT marks the first time since 2011 that the Sooners will be opening a new season at home. • OU is ranked No. 14 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 16 by USA Today/Coaches, No. 17 NCBWA and No. 19 Baseball America. • The Sooners return four position starters from the 2012 squad that finished 42-23 overall and fourth in the Big 12 (13-10). • Hofstra posted a 34-22 mark (20-10 CAA) in 2012 under head coach John Russo. • Hofstra Rotation: Game 1 - LHP Joseph Burg (4-1, 5.54); Game 2 - RHP John Tiedemann (7-5, 5.13); Game 3 - RHP Nick Kozlowski (2-0, 3.95); Game 4 - RHP Jared Rogers (0-5, 7.88)
THE SERIES • The Sooners and the Pride meet for the first time this weekend. OU is 7-0 against teams out of the CAA and last opened a regular season at home in 2011 when it defeated William & Mary, 7-1. BROADCAST INFORMATION • The OU radio broadcast with play-by-play announcers Toby Rowland, Chris Plank and former Sooner star Caleb Bushyhead on color can be heard throughout the weekend on the Sooner Sports Network (KREF 1400 AM in Norman/OKC). • Live stats are also available on SoonerSports.com and a webcast for all four games can be found on Sooner Sports TV powered by FOX Sports.
NEXT UP • Oklahoma hosts Arkansas Pine Bluff Tuesday and Wednesday at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
OU ROTATION (2012 stats) No. 1 LHP Dillon Overton 6-3, 3.16 ERA, 24 BB, 120 SO No. 2 RHP Jonathan Gray 8-4, 3.32 ERA, 39 BB, 96 SO No. 3 LHP Billy Waltrip junior college transfer No. 4 RHP Corey Copping true freshman
PLAYER TO WATCH - DILLON OVERTON Junior ace southpaw Dillon Overton, one of four team captains, was named to the 2013 Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-America Second Team, as selected by Collegiate Baseball, in December, as well as Baseball America’s 2013 Preseason All-America Third Team. He earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors in 2012 after ranking second in the conference in both strikeouts (126) and innings pitched (122.2).
OU TABBED AS BIG 12 FAVORITE The University of Oklahoma baseball team has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2013 Big 12 baseball regular season. In a vote by the league’s head coaches, the Sooners earned six first-place votes, totaling 62 points.
ALL-AMERICAN ARMS The University of Oklahoma baseball team’s junior left-handed pitcher Dillon Overton and junior right-handed pitcher Jonathan Gray have been named to the 2013 Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-America Second Team, as selected by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
Last season’s weekend rotation of Gray, Overton and Jordan John, who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Detroit Tigers, became the first trio in Oklahoma history to each strike out 100 batters in a single season.
Overton earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors in 2012 after ranking second in the Big 12 in both strikeouts (126) and innings pitched (122.2). He went 6-3 with a 3.15 ERA over 22 appearances, including 16 starts. The Weatherford, Okla., native owns a career record of 14-7 and a career ERA of 2.83, fanning 185 over 45 appearances and 197.0 innings pitched. He garnered First Team Freshman All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper after going 8-4 with a 2.30 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 2011.
Overton was also named to Baseball America’s 2013 Preseason All-America Third Team.
Gray went 8-4 with a 3.16 ERA and 104 strikeouts over 18 starts and 102.2 innings pitched in his first season with the Sooners after transferring to Oklahoma from Eastern Oklahoma State. A native of Chandler, Okla., Gray’s eight pitching victories tied for sixth-most in the Big 12.
Gray has also been named to the 2013 Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List.
TOP 25 POLLS OU is ranked No. 14 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 16 by USA Today/Coaches, No. 17 NCBWA and No. 19 Baseball America.
OU IN SEASON OPENERS - Since 1962, the OU baseball program is 39-12 in season openers. (4-2 under Golloway). - From 1984 till 2003, the Sooners won 20 consecutive season openers. OU’s 25-4 record since 1984 has been a result of outscoring the opposition 284-127, and scoring in double digits in 12 games and averaging more than 10 runs a game. - Since 1962, the Sooners are 22-1 in season openers played in Norman and are currently riding a 20-game winning streak. The only loss on record during a season opener at home was in 1981, a 6-5 loss to Southeastern State.
2012 RECAP Oklahoma finished 2012 ranked as high as No. 13 in the nation at 42-25 overall and placed fourth in the Big 12 Conference with a 13-10 conference mark. The Sooners won 40 regular season games for the fourth straight year, the second longest-such streak in program history behind the stretch recorded from 1984-1989, and made the program’s fifth straight NCAA tournament appearance (35th overall).
The Sooners were on the postseason bubble after starting slow out of the gates with an 18-14 mark but went 24-11 down the stretch, including a Big 12 Championship run that ended with an 8-7 loss to Missouri in the title game. Oklahoma drew a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Charlottesville Regional. The Sooners lost the regional opener to Appalachian State but came back to win four straight games and eliminate Army, host Virginia and Appalachian State and advance to the NCAA Super Regional for the third time in program history, all of which have come under current head coach Sunny Golloway (format originated in 1999). Oklahoma’s season ended with two losses to two-time defending national champion South Carolina in the NCAA Columbia Super Regional.
OU received two stellar pitching performances from right-hander Jonathan Gray and southpaw Dillon Overton in the Super Regional, and the pair of aces will anchor the pitching staff again in 2013. The 2012 weekend rotation of Gray, Overton and Jordan John became the first trio in Oklahoma history to each strike out 100 batters in a single season. Max White, the team’s offensive leader (.337, 55 RBI), also returns in 2013 for his senior season.
GOLLOWAY REACHES 300 WINS AT OU OU’s 2-1 win in extra innings over Army on June 3, 2012, in the NCAA Charlottesville Regional marked the 300th career win for Sunny Golloway as the Sooners’ head coach. It took Golloway, who enters his eighth full season as the Oklahoma skipper in 2013, 458 games to reach the plateau, the second quickest total in program history. Enos Semore (1968-1989) won his 300th game as OU’s head coach in his 413th contest (ninth season).
FIVE SOONERS SELECTED IN ‘12 MLB DRAFT Five Sooners, including four pitchers, were taken in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft, held June 4-6. Junior left-handed pitcher Steven Okert went first in the fourth round to the San Francisco Giants. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Damien Magnifico went next in the fifth round to the Milwaukee Brewers, and sophomore lefty Jordan John followed in the sixth round to the Detroit Tigers to conclude day two. On the third and final day, junior righty Drew Harrison was selected in the 23rd round by the Detroit Tigers, and senior shortstop Caleb Bushyhead was taken in the 29th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. As both an assistant and head coach, an Oklahoma player has been drafted 82 times under Sunny Golloway.
PITCHING STAFF’S 502 STRIKEOUTS The 502 strikeouts in 2012 marked just the third time the Oklahoma pitching staff has eclipsed 500 in a single season. The record of 583 K’s is held by the 2010 NCAA College World Series team while the 1998 Sooners had 548.
SOONERS AND THE LONGBALL OU finished second in the Big 12 with 36 home runs on the season. The Sooners were 22-5 when they hit a home run in a game in 2012 and 5-1 with multiple longballs (Feb. 24 vs. Hartford, April 14 vs. Missouri, May 19 vs. Samford, May 26 vs. Baylor and June 4 vs. Appalachian State, game 1). Oklahoma homered in eight of the last 13 games with 11 in that span, (including a season-high six-game streak). The Sooners have ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the Big 12 each of the last three years, including a league-best 105 in 2010 and 91 in 2009.
BASEBALL ON KREF 1400 AM IN 2012 OU had five honorees on the All-Big 12 teams, including first team member Max White (utility), who ranked in the top 10 in the league in several offensive categories after starting in left field, center field, third base and first base in 2012. White earned honorable mention honors in 2010. In June, White also was named to the 2012 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-Region Second Team.
Senior Erik Ross (outfield) and redshirt sophomore Jordan John (starting pitcher) were named to the All-Big 12 Second Team while sophomore Dillon Overton (starting pitcher) was named honorable mention and Hunter Lockwood (1B/C) was voted to the All-Freshman Team. The 2012 campaign marked the fourth straight season that at least five Sooners were selected by the league’s coaches.
Oklahoma led the Big 12 Championship with five Sooners (Jack Mayfield, Evan Mistich, Matt Oberste, Steven Okert and Dillon Overton) voted to the all-tournament team by the media, tying a program-best with the 1997 title team. All five Sooners made their first career appearance on the list.
The Sooners led the NCAA Charlottesville All-Regional Team with five members, including the Most Outstanding Player in Oberste. Joining Oberste were Overton (SP), Mayfield (2B), Caleb Bushyhead (SS) and Cody Reine (OF).
ACADEMIC ALL-BIG 12 Seniors Caleb Bushyhead (communication) and Erik Ross (multi-disciplinary studies) were named to the Academic All-Big 12 First Team. It marked the third career honor for Bushyhead and his second straight appearance on the first team. Ross made his first career appearance on the academic team. Redshirt sophomore Jordan John (energy management major) rounded out the 2012 honorees with his selection, a career first, to the second team. Oklahoma has had at least two honorees on the academic all-conference team since 1993.
BASEBALL ON KREF 1400 AM IN 2012 The 2013 season marks the third with KREF 1400 AM serving as the flagship station of Sooner baseball. The partnership provides expanded coverage for OU fans to listen to 50-plus regular season games live over the air and extends into postseason play.
2013 TELEVISION SCHEDULE Sooner Sports TV powered by FOX Sports will bring University of Oklahoma baseball and softball fans unparalleled coverage in 2013 as the network debuts live broadcasts of all home games and a weekly show devoted to the two sports.
Each of the Sooners’ 31 baseball games at L. Dale Mitchell Park and 18 softball games at Marita Hynes Field not broadcast by another national network will have live coverage on FOX Sports networks or online at SoonerSports.tv.
Beginning March 4, Sooner Sports TV will also introduce “Rounding Third,” a 10-episode highlight show co-hosted by Chad McKee and head baseball and softball coaches Sunny Golloway and Patty Gasso, who will alternate appearances in studio.
Sooner Sports TV will produce 25 baseball games for live telecasts on FS Southwest or FS Oklahoma and FOX College Sports (FCS) with the remaining six available via webcast at SoonerSports.tv.
Coverage of the 14th-ranked Sooner baseball team begins with live webcasts of the four-game series versus Hofstra, starting Friday, Feb. 15. Television coverage on FS Oklahoma begins Tuesday, Feb. 19, when OU hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The Sooner Sports TV broadcast team includes Bruce Haertl and McKee as play-by-play announcers. Major League Baseball veteran Jay Payton will serve as the color analyst for 19 games with former Sooner Caleb Bushyhead and long-time broadcasters and former OU sports information director Mike Treps also appearing.
Sooner Sports TV programming is delivered on existing FOX Sports channels including FS Southwest, FS Oklahoma and FCS, reaching approximately 9 million homes in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Outside of this four-state region, select programming is available to more than 80 million homes on either on FCS via cable providers or on outer market regional sports packages offered by satellite providers. Check with your local service provider for more details.
BASEBALL ON NATIONAL TV The University of Oklahoma baseball program will once again enter the national spotlight when it battles its two biggest rivals in 2013. Game one of the Big 12 portion of the annual Bedlam Series against Oklahoma State will be broadcast on ESPNU on May 10. Fox Sports Net will carry game two of the Red River Rivalry at Texas on April 6. The Big 12 Conference office announced both contests as part of its eight-game television package.
The Sooners will face the Cowboys at ONEOK Field in Tulsa in a 7 p.m. CT matchup on ESPNU. OU is set to take on Texas in a 2:30 p.m. CT contest that will be carried on Fox Sports Net from UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin.
SOONERS INK 14 FOR 2014 SEASON University of Oklahoma head baseball coach Sunny Golloway announced the addition of 14 student-athletes in the early signing period as part of the 2014 incoming class in November.
Right-handed pitcher Bryant Hodge (Moore, Okla./Christian Heritage Academy), infielder Trey Michalczewski (Jenks, Okla./Jenks HS) and right-handed pitcher Kyle Stephens (Edmond, Okla./Edmond HS) will represent the Sooner State by sporting the Crimson & Cream.
OU’s out-of-state high school recruits include infielder Niko Buentello (Lewisville, Texas/Lewisville HS), right-handed pitcher Jake Elliott (Coppell, Texas/Coppell HS), right-handed pitcher Alec Hansen (Loveland, Colo./Loveland HS), left-handed pitcher Chris Kohler (Alta Loma, Calif./Los Osos HS), infielder/right-handed pitcher Sheldon Neuse (Fort Worth, Texas/Fossil Ridge HS), catcher Jacob Nottingham (Redlands, Calif./Redlands HS) and left-handed pitcher Octavio Rodriguez (El Paso, Texas/Franklin HS).
Oklahoma also added four junior college standouts for the 2014 season, including infielder Josh Ake (Readington, N.J./Hunterdon Central Regional HS/North Carolina/Howard College), utility player Keach Ballard (Durant, Okla./Silo HS/Murray State College), right-handed pitcher Caleb Simpson (Norman, Okla./Norman North HS/Seminole State) and right-handed pitcher Travis Remillard (Norman, Okla./Norman HS/Northeastern Oklahoma A&M).
OU inspires champions today and prepares leaders for tomorrow by enabling its student-athletes to achieve their highest academic, athletic and personal aspirations. The OU Athletics Department sponsors 21 varsity sports with more than 600 student-athletes and is completely self-supporting.
Sooner Sports Properties, LLC, is the multimedia rights holder for athletics at the University of Oklahoma. Sooner Sports Properties is a joint venture of Learfield Communications, Renda Broadcasting and Griffin Television.