University of Oklahoma head baseball coach Pete Hughes released his team’s schedule for the 2016 season on Monday afternoon. For the fourth-consecutive season, the Sooners will open at home as Northeastern visits L. Dale Mitchell Park for opening day on Friday, February 19 at 4:00 pm. This season’s schedule features 19 games against eight opponents that reached the NCAA Regionals in 2015 12 games against six teams that finished the season in the RPI Top-50.
Oklahoma will play 25 games at home, 26 on the road and four at neutral sites, including a visit to Dodger Stadium in March. Overall, the Sooners have 26 games against 12 teams that finished in the RPI Top-100.
“Our schedule is driven by RPI,” stated Hughes. “To move on and play games deep into June, we’ve geared out schedule to take advantage of the value of road wins, relative to the RPI, while also recognizing that it’s on us to win more of those critical games. I think this schedule improves our chances of taking that next step and reaching the postseason.”
The Sooners, who posted a 15-11 record at home in 2015, begin 2016 with four games at home. Following the Northeastern series (Feb. 19-21), they take on Abilene Christian (Feb. 23) before closing out the month at Sam Houston State (Feb. 26-28) for a three-game set.
March opens with a midweek game against Central Arkansas (Mar. 1) before Oklahoma heads west for three games in Los Angeles. The action gets underway on March 4 at UCLA (RPI-7). The Sooners and Bruins last took the field together in 2013; a 4-0 win on the road for OU. The two sides have twice met in the postseason with Oklahoma winning twice at the Mideast Regional in 1992 and UCLA winning twice at the Oklahoma City Regional in 2004. On March 5, the Sooners head to USC (RPI-27) for a match-up between the two teams for the first time since 2004. In 1995, the Trojans claimed their first win over OU in the series at the College World Series. The weekend wraps up against Mississippi State in Chavez Ravine at the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Those are the opportunities you have when you play baseball at the University of Oklahoma,” Hughes said of the trip to Los Angeles. “You get to play against the top teams in the country in the top venues in the country. We try to expose our players to all of those things, keeping in mind our overall goal, which is to get our team playing in the best and the most competitive environments so that we can be great at the end of the year and play in Omaha.”
Oklahoma returns home to face Wichita State (Mar. 8) before hosting Long Beach State (Mar. 11-13/RPI-86) for a series.
The Sooners hit the road to the west coast once again for a midweek game at Fresno State (Mar. 15/RPI-72) and a four-game, weekend series at CSU Bakersfield (Mar. 17-19); fresh off a NCAA Regional appearance.
Oklahoma briefly returns to the Sooner State for a road match-up with intrastate rival Oral Roberts (RPI-43) in Tulsa on March 22.
Big 12 conference play opens at Texas Tech (RPI-80) on March 25. The Sooners hosted the No. 10 Red Raiders to open the conference portion of the slate in 2015 and took two out of three after rebounding from a game one loss. The three-game series marks the first of eight-straight conference series for the Sooners.
“We usually schedule hard at the beginning of the year and challenge our guys to getting used to playing high-quality opponents and get good at playing on the road. That’s how we scheduled to prepare for the Big 12.”
Following a midweek visit to Little Rock (Mar. 29), Oklahoma prepares to host Texas (RPI-88) for the “Red River Showdown” from April 1-3. Last season, the Sooners went down to Austin and came away with its second road series win over the Longhorns in the last three seasons.
Dallas Baptist (Apr. 5/RPI-10) comes to Norman in the midst of a seven-game homestand for Oklahoma. Big 12 play continues when Baylor (Apr. 8-10) visits the Sooners.
The Sooners then hit the road for four games beginning with a road trip to Wichita State (Apr. 12) and finishing at TCU (Apr. 15-17/RPI-6). The Horned Frogs are the lone team on Oklahoma’s schedule that played past the Regionals as they made it to Omaha for a second-straight season.
Bedlam returns to Norman for the first time since 2014. The Sooners host Oklahoma State (RPI-16) at L. Dale Mitchell Park on April 19. The two sides have met 11 times since the Cowboys last visited Oklahoma on April 1, 2014. The Sooners remain home on the weekend as they dive back in to Big 12 action against West Virginia (Apr. 22-24).
Oklahoma hits to road to take on Kansas (Apr. 29-May 1) as the season hits the home stretch. Oral Roberts (May 3) returns the favor and comes to Norman before the Sooners host Kansas State (May 6-8/RPI-96). OU and K-State met twice at the Big 12 Championship in Tulsa last season. The Wildcats forced the Sooners into the loser’s bracket with a 7-3 decision in the opener before Oklahoma bounced back to eliminate Kansas State, 3-1.
The Sooners are the road team in this season’s Bedlam Series, which marks OU’s eighth and final Big 12 series. Game one against Oklahoma State (May 13) will be played at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City followed by two games at ONEOK Field (May 14-15) in Tulsa.
One final, four-game road trip marks the end of Oklahoma’s regular season. The Sooners head to Columbia to take on Missouri (May 17/RPI-56) for their first contest against the Tigers since facing off in the 2012 Big 12 Championship game; an 8-7 win for Mizzou in its final season in the conference. From there, Oklahoma heads to Austin Peay (May 19-21) in Clarksville, Tenn. for the regular season finale.
On Wednesday, May 25, the Big 12 Championship returns to Oklahoma City following a one-year stint in Tulsa. The tournament, hosted at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, runs through Saturday, May 29.