NORMAN, Okla. — University of Oklahoma Vice President/Athletics Director Joe Castiglione and head coach Sunny Golloway released the Sooners’ 2012 baseball schedule consisting of 56 regular season games on Monday.
The Sooners will host 30 games at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman, including Big 12 series with Texas, Kansas State, Missouri and Baylor and non-conference games with Air Force, Oral Roberts, Arkansas, Dallas Baptist and TCU.
The Sooners will battle through a difficult schedule in order to make the program’s 35th appearance in the NCAA tournament and earn a return trip to the College World Series for the 11th time in school history. Overall, OU battles 12 opponents, for a total of 28 games, that participated in last year’s NCAA tournament, including seven non-conference foes in Arkansas, Connecticut, Dallas Baptist, New Mexico, Oral Roberts, Oregon State and TCU.
Eight of the 12 NCAA participants finished the year ranked in the top 25, while seven of the teams recorded 40 or more wins a year ago. Texas and Texas A&M both played in the College World Series while Connecticut, Dallas Baptist and Oregon State advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals.
“We feel like we have an extremely challenging schedule,” said Golloway. “Our non-conference slate has a variety of quality programs from around the country that will help us gauge where we are at early in the season.”
While the Sooners have built annual rivalries with TCU and Arkansas, the addition or Oral Roberts to the regular season schedule is a first since 2004.
“I think the teams and the fans have enjoyed our midweek series with those quality opponents and regional rivals,” said Golloway. “We are also excited to add Oral Roberts, who we have seen in the postseason the past couple of years, back to the slate.”
The Sooners will kick the 2012 campaign off on Feb. 17 for a three-game series at Pepperdine. The Sooners then host six of the next nine games against Hartford, UT-Arlington and Arkansas Pine Bluff. The Sooners open the home portion of the slate against Hartford on Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. and the three-game series is followed by a midweek home game against UT Arlington.
After a three-game series at New Mexico and a midweek series at home against Arkansas Pine Bluff, OU appears in the lone tournament of the 2012 regular season in Eugene, Ore. The inaugural Nike Showcase, hosted by the University of Oregon, will feature games against the host Ducks, Connecticut, West Virginia and Oregon State (played in Corvallis, Ore.).
The 24-game Big 12 schedule begins at home against Red River rival Texas (March 16-18) and the Sooners also welcome Kansas State (March 30-April 1), Missouri (April 13-15) and Baylor (May 11-13) to Norman.
The Big 12 road series include Texas Tech (March 23-25), Texas A&M (April 5-7) and Kansas (April 27-29), while the Bedlam Series, presented by Oklahoma Farm Bureau, will be held May 4-6. Game one between OU and Oklahoma State is set for May 4 in Tulsa at ONEOK Field and the teams return to Oklahoma City for the final two games of the series slated for May 5 and 6 at the Bricktown Ballpark.
“The Big 12, as always, is going to be a tough challenge for our team which no doubt helps prepare us for the postseason run we aim to make,” added Golloway.
For the eighth consecutive year, the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship will be held in Oklahoma City at the Bricktown Ballpark from Wednesday, May 23 through Sunday, May 27. The tournament returned to a double-elimination format for the 2011 season.
The NCAA Tournament begins on campus sites with the NCAA Regional (June 1-4) and NCAA Super Regional (June 8-11). The 2012 College World Series gets underway at TD AMERITRADE Park for the second straight season in Omaha, Nebraska, on June 15-26.
The Sooners return 15 letterwinners and seven starters (five position players, two pitchers) from the 2011 team that finished the year at 41-19 in the NCAA Fort Worth Regional.
Fans can get their first look at the 2012 OU squad as the program hosts its annual Red-White Series this week. Game one is set for Monday, Oct. 24 at 2:30 p.m. at L. Dale Mitchell Park. All of the games are free and open to the public and times and dates are subject to change. Game two is set for Oct. 26, game three on Oct. 28, game four on Oct. 30 and game five on Nov. 1.