FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
NORMAN, Okla. — University of Oklahoma Vice President/Athletics Director Joe Castiglione and head coach Sunny Golloway released the Sooners’ 2011 baseball schedule consisting of 56 regular season games on Wednesday.
The Sooners will host 31 games at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman, including the first Bedlam Series game since 1996 on Tuesday, April 5. OU made the trek to Stillwater last season, marking the first year that the instate rivalry was extended to four regular season games.
Oklahoma will face a grueling schedule in order to make the program’s 34th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and earn a return trip to the College World Series after finishing 50-18 last year in Omaha. Overall, OU battles 10 opponents, for a total of 23 games, that participated in last year’s NCAA Tournament, including six non-conference foes in Arizona State, Arkansas, Cal, New Mexico, San Diego and TCU.
Five of the 10 NCAA participants (Arizona State, Arkansas, TCU, Texas and Texas A&M) recorded 40 or more wins a year ago. The Sun Devils and Horned Frogs both played in the College World Series with the Sooners in 2010 while the Longhorns and Razorbacks advanced to host NCAA Super Regionals.
“We are excited for this challenging schedule and we know our fans are too,” said Golloway. “I want to encourage fans to purchase season tickets as soon as possible, so they are not left out of the journey in 2011 back to Omaha.
“We want to create the same home-field advantage that we have experienced in our NCAA Regionals throughout the regular season. I believe that can and will be done.”
The Sooners will kick things off on Feb. 18 for a nine-game home stand to begin the 2011 campaign. For the second time in the Golloway era, OU opens the season at home as it welcomes William & Mary to Norman for the first series meeting. OU will host the Tribe in a four-game series (doubleheader on Saturday) and remain home to host Arkansas Pine Bluff (Feb. 22-23) and Oakland (Feb. 25-27).
After a midweek game at UT Arlington (March 1), OU appears in the lone tournament of the 2011 regular season in San Diego, Calif. The USD Tournament features match-ups with San Diego State (March 3 and 6), San Diego (March 4) and Cal (March 5).
Following a three-game home stand with Arkansas Little Rock (March 11-13), OU hits the road to battle Arizona State in a two-game midweek set (March 15-16).
The non-conference slate also features home games against TCU, Dallas Baptist and New Mexico, while OU travels to Arkansas, Arkansas Little Rock and TCU.
The 27-game Big 12 schedule begins at home against Texas A&M (March 18-20). The Aggies are one of four 2010 NCAA Tournament teams on the conference slate (Baylor, Kansas State and Texas). OU also welcomes Texas Tech (April 1-3), Nebraska (April 22-24) and Kansas (May 6-8) to Norman.
The Big 12 road series include Missouri (March 25-27), Kansas State (April 8-10), Texas (April 29-May 1) and Baylor (May 19-21).
The Bedlam Series, presented by Oklahoma Farm Bureau, will be held April 15-17. Game one between OU and Oklahoma State is set for April 15 in Tulsa at ONEOK Field. Then the teams return to Oklahoma City for the final two games of the series slated for April 16 and 17 at the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.
For the seventh consecutive year, the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship will be held in Oklahoma City at the Bricktown Ballpark from Wednesday, May 25 through Sunday, May 29. The tournament returns to a double-elimination format for the 2011 season.
The NCAA Tournament begins on campus sites with the NCAA Regional (June 3-6) and NCAA Super Regional (June 10-13). The 2011 College World Series opens in its new home at TD AMERITRADE Park Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska, on June 18-29.
The Sooners return 20 letterwinners and 10 starters (8 position players, two pitchers) from the 2010 College World Series team, including All-Americans Garrett Buechele and Max White.
“We were a young team in 2010 and will use that experience and build upon that success to make the journey back to Omaha,” said Golloway.