The University of Texas baseball team on Wednesday announced opponents and dates for its 2014 schedule, which is highlighted by a nonconference home series with Stanford, a season-opening road trip to California and a challenging Big 12 slate. Times and TV assignments will be announced at a later date.
The Longhorns are scheduled to play a total of 17 games against seven teams which reached the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Texas is set to host tournament teams Valparaiso, Columbia, Rice and Oklahoma State at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, while playing Sam Houston State, Oklahoma, Kansas State and two additional games vs. Rice at road and neutral sites.
Following the annual Alumni Game on Saturday, Feb. 1, Texas opens its 2014 campaign with a trip to Berkeley, Calif., to take on Cal in a four-game series from Feb. 14-16. The Horns open their home schedule with a game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday, Feb. 18, then host Stanford that weekend (Feb. 21-23).
Texas will participate in the Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park in Houston the following weekend (Feb. 28-March 2), playing games vs. Rice, Houston and Sam Houston State. The Longhorns then host Valparaiso (March 4) and Hawaii for a four-game series (March 7-9) before traveling to Texas State (March 11) for one of just two midweek road games.
Big 12 play opens with a home series against Kansas (March 14-16), and the Longhorns also host Baylor (April 4-6), TCU (April 17-19) and Oklahoma State (April 25-27). Road conference series are at Texas Tech (March 28-30), Oklahoma (April 11-13), West Virginia (May 2-4) and Kansas State (May 16-18).
The Longhorns also play nonconference homes games against UT-Pan American (Feb. 25 and April 22), Dallas Baptist (March 18), Columbia (March 21-23), Texas State (March 25 and May 13), Rice (April 8), UT-Arlington (April 15) and Prairie View A&M (April 29). Texas plays a non-conference midweek road game at Rice on April 1.
The 2014 Big 12 Tournament will be played in Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Okla., May 21-25.
The Longhorns return all three starting pitchers from last season’s weekend rotation, along with five other contributors. The pitching staff was seventh in the country last season in ERA (2.61), marking the fourth time in the past five years that the Texas pitching staff has recorded a staff ERA below 3.00.
Mark Payton, the team’s leading hitter in 2013, headlines the list of offensive returnees. Last season he ranked 12th nationally with a .393 batting average, while also recording team bests in on-base percentage (.483) and slugging percentage (.545).
The Longhorns welcome 13 newcomers to the program that made up the sixth-ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.