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September 25, 2013
The slate is set for the Pete Hughes era to officially commence in Norman.
Wednesday the Sooners first year skipper announced his team's schedule for the upcoming 2014 season. Highlighted with nine opponents in the Top-75 of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) and eight teams with 35 wins or more a season ago.
To open the 2014 campaign Oklahoma will host a five game series at L. Dale Mitchell Park, beginning with a three-game set versus Seton Hall, Februrary 14-16, and followed by a two-game set against Arkansas Pine Bluff, February 18-19.
"There is a lot to 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."
A system that Hughes used to lead Virginia Tech to five straight 30-win seasons prior to taking over the Sooner baseball program.
What comes as a favorable break for Hughes and the Sooners is the fact that 33 of their 56-regular season games will be played in their own backyard.
When it comes time to step away from the cozy confines of LDM Oklahoma's first road trip will take them across the country in back-to-back weekends. Heading to Orlando (Fla.), for a three-game tournament with host school Central Florida as well as games with Ohio State and Citadel, followed by a west coast jaunt the following weekend, February 27 to March 2, to play a four game tournament at Arizona State with contests slated against the Sun Devils in Tempe (Ariz.) and three other games versus Manhattan, Gonzaga and Santa Clara just down the road in Surprise.
Becoming a staple on the Sooners midweek calendar in recent seasons has been rising Division I programs Texas-Arlington and Dallas Baptist. This season is no different but there is a small exciting twist as Oklahoma heads to the Ballpark in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers, to take on UT-Arlington on March 11 followed by a home date versus DBU later in the year on April 29.
Big 12 conference play opens during a homestand starting on March 21 when Oklahoma- the defending Big 12 postseason tournament champion- hosts defending regular season champion Kansas State for a three game series.
For the 10th straight season the Big 12 Championships return to Oklahoma City's Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark running May 21- 25.Bedlam Series schedule change
After upping the Bedlam Series to a total of four-game in 2010 Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will add a fifth match up to the rotation this season. It will be the first time the two in-state squads play five times in a season since the demise of the Big Eight conference.
"I think it is tremendous for baseball in our state to have OU and OSU playing each other 5 times," said Hughes. "Between Norman, Stillwater, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City, it is great for the state of Oklahoma to see two NCAA Tournament caliber programs taking its series to the great venues and cities of the state."
The first two bouts will be of the non-conference variety starting April 1 in Norman followed by a return trip to Stillwater on April 15.
While the traditional three-game set will also see change to its schedule with game one on May 15 in Oklahoma City at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark with games two and three in the shadows of downtown Tulsa at ONEOK Field, May 16 and 17.Other notable dates:
18 - at TCU (non-conference)
25 - at Oral Roberts
28-30 - at Kansas
4-6 - Cal State Bakersfield
8 - vs. Oral Roberts
11-13 - vs. Texas
25-27 - at Texas Tech
2-4 - vs. Baylor
9-11 - at TCU