The NCAA Tournament 64-team field was announced on Monday and the No. 25 University of Oklahoma baseball team will make its 35th postseason appearance in Charlottesville, Va.
The Sooners (38-22), seeded second, will play Friday at 8 p.m. ET against No. 3 seed Appalachian State (39-16), who won the Southern Conference regular season crown but earned at-large bid after losing in their conference tourney last Friday. No. 1 seed Virginia (38-17-1) will host Army (41-13) in the other first round game at Davenport Field at 4 p.m.
"First of all, I am extremely excited for this group of young men that have been challenged and gone through an awful lot of adversity to be rewarded with a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament," said OU Head Coach Sunny Golloway, who will be the head coach of a Division I team in the NCAA Tournament for the 13th time.
Oklahoma is familiar with Davenport Field as it advanced to the program's 10th appearance in the College World Series by defeating then-No. 1 Virginia in the NCAA Charlottesville Super Regional in 2010. While the Sooners are 2-2 all-time against the Cavaliers, they have not played against Army or Appalachian State.
"Our only familiarity with our first game opponent is the fact that they played Samford as a common opponent and we both defeated them in two out of three games," said Golloway. "However, Samford went on to win the conference tournament. If Samford is indicative of the strength of that league, we will have our hands full."
Each of the four-team, double-elimination regionals will be played June 1-3. The winners of each regional will advance to the Super Regional round June 8-10.
The Charlottesville Regional is matched up with the Columbia Regional, featuring No. 1 South Carolina (No. 8 national seed), No. 2 Coastal Carolina, No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Manhattan. The sites of the next round will be announced on June 4 on NCAA.com.
"We recognize the challenges that lie ahead having experienced a Super Regional in 2010 in Charlottesville," said Golloway. "We also recognize that as a No. 1 seed, Virginia has advanced to the College World Series in two out of the last three years. We fell that the regional field will be tough, not just Virginia, and that we must play our best baseball to advance."
Oklahoma has won 20 out of the last 28 games and finished the season strong to make the program's fifth consecutive NCAA appearance. The Sooners went 3-1 last week in the Big 12 Championship and fell in the title game 8-7 to Missouri.
"I am extremely proud of everyone involved with our program, based on the fact that after week six and close to the halfway point of the season, we sat with an RPI around 129 and were on the outside looking in," added Golloway. "For us to finish with an RPI in the 20's, speaks volumes for the character, fight and toughness of our program.
"Although we are obviously disappointed of falling just short of a Big 12 championship this past weekend, we realize our main focus and goal from day one is to get to Omaha. And that journey will begin Friday."
While Missouri won the conference's automatic bid, the Big 12 will also be represented by Baylor and Texas A&M. Both the Bears and Aggies will host NCAA Regionals this week.
The eight winners of the Super Regionals will play in the College World Series, beginning June 15 at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Neb.