CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State softball team will play a 55-game slate in the 2014 season, including 24 Pac-12 Conference games, head coach Laura Berg announced today. The Beavers’ schedule will feature 33 games against teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last season, including 10 opponents that finished 2013 ranked in the top-25 of the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll.
“I’m very excited about our 2014 schedule,” Berg said. “We will face some very good opponents. We are playing some SEC teams and some Big 12 teams that will help us get ready for the postseason.”
For the third straight year the Beavers will open the campaign at the Kajikawa Claissic, hosted by Arizona State Feb. 6-9. The event will pit the Beavers against North Carolina State, San Diego State, New Mexico, Creighton, Bradley and Appalachian State.
Oregon State will follow that up with a trip to College Station, Texas, as they take part in the Texas A&M Invitational Feb. 13-16, facing Texas A&M and Tulsa two times apiece, before taking on McNeese State. The tournament will mark Oregon State’s first trip to Texas since the Beavers played at the Texas A&M Tournament in February of 2010.
Oregon State will then move west for three straight tournaments in Southern California. The Beavers will compete in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, played in Palm Springs, Calif. from Feb. 20-23. The tournament will feature a challenging run of games, as the Beavers take on 2013 National Champion Oklahoma and 2013 National Runner-Up Tennessee, along with Boise State, Virginia and Pacific.
Oregon State will then move on to the Long Beach State Invitational from Feb. 27-Mar. 2. In that tournament, the Beavers will take on Cal State Fullerton, Illinois, UC Santa Barbara, Utah Valley, Michigan and Louisville. Oregon State will close out its tournament schedule at the UCLA Tournament, Mar. 6-9, as it faces Charleston Southern, Georgetown, Loyola Chicago, Grand Canyon and Cal State Northridge.
“We’ve got some excellent teams on our slate in our nonconference season,” Berg said. “Playing teams like Tennessee, Oklahoma and Texas A&M will help us prepare for the tough conference schedule we will play. In order to be number one, you have to beat the best, so we’re looking forward to playing some high-level teams this spring.”
The Beavers will open Pac-12 Conference play in their first home series of the season, as they host Arizona State Mar. 14-16. Oregon State will then alternate between road and homes series for the remainder of conference play, hosting California (Mar. 28-30), Oregon (April 11-13) and Washington (April 25-27), and traveling to face Arizona (Mar. 22-24), Utah (April 4-6), UCLA (April 17-19) and Stanford (May 8-10).
“The Pac-12 will be as strong as ever this season,” Berg said. “It’s almost like playing postseason games every weekend. From top to bottom, the conference is stacked with good teams. Every weekend teams are fighting hard.”
Eight of the nine Pac-12 squads made the postseason in 2013.
The Beavers will break up conference play with a doubleheader against Portland State on April 29 and a pair of games at UNLV May 3-4.
Oregon State finished last season with a 34-24 record, and made the postseason before being eliminated in the NCAA Regional.