The 21st ranked Oklahoma Sooners are set to start their 2016 baseball campaign as they host the Northeastern Huskies in a four-game series that begins Friday afternoon in Norman. The Huskies are coming off a 25-30 season in 2015 and are under second year head coach Mike Glavine. Northeastern will visit Norman with some strong prospects including Pat Madigan, who was a .313 hitter in 2015, Cam Hanley (.293) and Nolan Lang (.285). From the mound junior Aaron Civale received the 2015 John L. Claffey Award as the Cape Cod league's top New England prospect. Coming out of the bullpen, Civale posted a 0.36 ERA over the summer. Senior James Mulry and junior Dustin Hunt will return to the Huskies' starting rotation in 2016. Mulry went 3-8 with a 5.71 ERA in 2015, while Hunt posted a 5-5 record and 4.96 ERA.
Junior Jake Elliott will become the first Oklahoma hurler to start on opening day in back-to-back seasons since Dillon Overton did it 2012-13. Last season Elliott led the Sooners to an opening day win over Notre Dame and then went on to post a 4-6 record on the season, with a 3.06 ERA. Alec Hansen, one of the top pitching prospects in the country, will take the mound for OU in the first game of Saturday's double-header. Hansen was 5-6 in 2015, as a sophomore, with a 3.95 ERA.
Beginning with Saturday's second game, and going into Sunday, head coach Pete Hughes will look to some new arms on his staff. Owasso native, and Eastern Oklahoma State transfer, will start for the Sooners in the second game of Saturday's double-header and Hughes will give the mound to freshman, and Bloomington, Minnesota native, Jake Irvin to make the start on Sunday.
Juniors Alec Hansen and Sheldon Neuse will start the year on the Golden Spikes Award watch list. The award is given annually to the top amateur prospect in the nation and is sponsored by Major League Baseball. There are a total of 50 players on the watch list and four from the Big 12 Conference. The midseason watch list will come out on April 20 and semifinalists will be named on June 1.