–University of Oklahoma baseball coach Pete Hughes released his team's schedule for the 2015 season, Monday afternoon. This season's schedule features 14 games against four Big 12 competitors that advanced to the Super Regionals, three of which made it to the College World Series. The Texas Tech and TCU three-game series will take place in Norman, March 20-22 and May 14-16.
Oklahoma will play 28 games against last season's Top-50 RPI, including 16 against the Top-25 and eight opponents with over 40 wins last season.
“Our strength of schedule is going to be improved upon with the intent of improving our postseason resume,” stated Hughes. “Anytime you want to host a Regional, you have to put yourself in a position to do so. We've put ourselves in that position.”
The Sooners, who posted a 19-15 record at home in 2014, will play at home for 28 of their 56-game regular season schedule.
The season will open with five games at the L. Dale Mitchell Park beginning with a three-game set against Notre Dame on February 13-15. Oklahoma also plays a two-game set against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, February 14-15.
“I like how challenging our schedule is at the start. There are 10 games in 10 days. It's going to be a lot of fun, but it's also going to take a lot of hard work.”
The Sooners' first road contest takes place February 18 at Arizona State before the Big12/Pac-12 Challenge, February 19-22, which will take place throughout the Phoenix area at three MLB Cactus League spring training sites. Arizona State returned to the NCAA Regionals in 2014 with a 33-24 overall record and ranked 46th in the RPI.
Oklahoma opens the challenge against Washington State and Washington in Mesa on February 19 and 20. Washington went 41-17 a year ago, finished 25th in the RPI and reached the NCAA Regionals. Following a game against Utah in Surprise, the Sooners face last season's No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, Oregon State, in Goodyear. The Beavers', whom OU faced in Corvallis in 2012, season ended in the Regionals with a 45-14 overall record and Pac-12 Championship.
“I think it's one of the most challenging schedules we've had here. It's important to win on the road and it will be challenging, but this schedule will really allow us to be a tougher more well balanced team.”
Following a road game at Dallas Baptist on February 24, Oklahoma will be back in Norman for a nine-game stand starting with a four-game series against BYU, one game against Arkansas-Little Rock, a three-game series against Purdue and ending the two-week stretch at home against Oral Roberts.
March 12-15, the Sooners will travel to Honolulu for a four-game series against Hawai'i. It will be OU's first trip to the Aloha State since 1982.
“We'll be ready to go into Big 12 play because of how strong the front-end of our schedule is. It's going to build experience and toughness in our guys, which we'll need to go to Omaha.”
The Sooners open up the Big 12 season against Texas Tech at home, March 20-22. The Red Raiders ended the 2014 season 45-21, made an appearance in the College World Series and ranked 12th in the RPI.
Over the next 19 games, the Sooners will compete in 17 games against Big 12 competitors, the first being a non-conference game against TCU on March 17 and then a three-game series at Baylor, March 27-29.
Central Arkansas visits Norman on March 31 before Oklahoma plays a three-game series against Kansas in front of a home crowd, April 2-4. Last year, the Sooners went 2-1 against the Jayhawks, who ended their season with a 35-26 record and returned to the NCAA Regionals.
Oklahoma will play against defending Big 12 Champion, Oklahoma State, in one non-conference game in Stillwater before heading to Austin for a three-game series against Texas, April 10-12. OSU finished 48-18, reached the Super Regionals and ranked 19th in the RPI, while Texas went to 46-21, appeared in the CWS and ranked third in the RPI.
The Sooners will play the home half of a home-and-home series against Dallas Baptist on April 14. A year ago, the Patriots reached the Regionals with a 40-21 record and ranked 37th in the RPI.
Continuing Big 12 play, Oklahoma will make its way to Morgantown, W.Va. to play West Virginia in a three-game series April 17-19.
In a Big 12 bye week, the Sooners host Same Houston State, who went 43-19 with an appearance in the Regionals, April 24-26. The Bearkats were ranked 34th in the final RPI.
May 1 marks the first game of the three-game Bedlam Series when Oklahoma plays Oklahoma State in the opener at ONEOK Field in Tulsa. The last two games of the series will take place in Oklahoma City at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Last year, Oklahoma State went 48-18 with an appearance in the Super Regionals.
The regular season ends with two Big 12 three-game series. First, Oklahoma visits Kansas State, May 8-10 and wraps up the slate with TCU in Norman, May 14-16. TCU finished seventh in RPI and ended their 2014 season 48-18 to go with a Big 12 Tournament Championship and CWS appearance.
For the first time, the Big 12 Championship will take place at ONEOK Field in Tulsa from May 19-24.