NORMAN, Okla. -- The 2013 Oklahoma baseball team completed its third week of individual practices Friday. The Sooners will begin team practices on Sept. 25 and conclude the fall with the annual Red/White Series during the first week of November.
The fall sessions will also feature a MLB Scout Day on Oct. 18 and an alumni weekend Nov. 9-10 to close out the slate.
The Sooners return a majority of the starting lineup and rotation from the 2012 squad that was 42-25 and finished the year in the program's third NCAA Super Regional.
All three of those appearances have come under current head coach Sunny Golloway, who enters his eighth full season at the helm of the Sooner program.
"We are excited to have the guys out here and we will know a lot more once the team portion begins later this month," said Golloway. "What we do know is the team is loaded with experience and weapons from last season."
Highlighting the returning experience is the Sooners' starting rotation which returns juniors Dillon Overton and Jonathan Gray. The duo combined to win 14 games in their 34 starts while striking out 230 batters. Gray struck out eight in the last game of the 2012 season against South Carolina in the Super Regional round. A day earlier, Overton sat down six Gamecocks.
Some of the national buzz surrounding the Sooners in 2013 will focus on Overton and Gray, which could provide OU with one of, if not the top, 1-2 punch in the Big 12.
"They've become pretty special and you will hear a lot about them, and rightfully so," added Golloway.
Also returning is a majority of the starting lineup, including Garrett Carey (3B), Hunter Lockwood (1B/C), Jack Mayfield (2B), Dylan Neal (C), Matt Oberste (DH/OF) and Max White (CF).
"That experience should benefit us in the fall and spring," said Golloway. "Not only do we return experience from last year's Super Regional, but we also have Max and Jack back from the 2010 College World Series team. That experience is invaluable, especially when teaching some of the incoming players."
New to Oklahoma's roster in 2013 is a list of 17 newcomers, several of which are already impressing the coaching staff in their bids for starting positions.
One of the names Sooner fans will hear is Billy Waltrip, a left-handed pitcher that transferred over from Seminole State. The Braggs, Okla., native was a 12th round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft and ended up being one of the few drafted players in the first 12 rounds to show up on a college campus.
"Billy Waltrip is a big 6-2 pitcher from the left side that can compete for a rotation spot," said Golloway. "We also have Adam Choplick, our big 6-9 left hander who is healthy and throwing the ball well. Corey Copping is another youngster we are excited about, the ball just jumps out of his hand. Robert Tasin (TUH-seen) and a bunch of other newcomers should really strengthen our staff."
The newcomers will also fill the depth chart in the infield and outfield. Golloway said a lot of the freshmen look a lot more physical and he expects them to contribute right away.
"Among many others, Justin Burba and Craig Aikin look real good in the outfield. They can really, really run and have been impressive in our early individual workouts," said Golloway. "They will be competing for starting jobs in the outfield. Their speed was one thing that we really wanted to emphasize with this class."