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Hughes era begins

NORMAN, Okla. — The new look Sooners, led by their new head coach, Pete Hughes, get things rolling today when they open the season at 3 p.m. CT.

And they’ll be staring across the diamond at Seton Hall, a club that finished 37-19 a year ago.

As for the Sooners, they don’t return everything off a 43-21 season that saw them two wins shy of the College World Series, but what they do return is strong.

Lefty Jacob Evans, who dominated out of the bullpen last season with a 7-2 record and 2.06 ERA, is expected to get the start on the bump.

Behind him in the field is leader and second baseman Hector Lorenzana, who headlines several of the key guys returning.

Lorenzana is a vacuum on the infield and hit .274 with 42 RBI and 33 runs scored in 2013.

“I do know Hector’s [Lorenzana] going to get locked in at second base because I think it’s the most important position in college baseball,” Hughes said. “When you got a guy that can turn a double play no matter where the throw is, you’re going to get two outs on one play, that’s where the value begins and ends. And he’s as good as I’ve seen at turning the double play, and that’s the most important play defensively in baseball. So, Hector will be second.”

Those are just two of 17 letterwinners coming back for the 2014 campaign and defense of a Big 12 Title.

They’ll work to improve OU to 36-17 all-time in season-openers and 24-1 at home, if they can seal up the initial victory of the season.

It’s the second year in a row OU has opened out of the gates at L. Dale Mitchell Park, as it did so against Hofstra in a 10-4 triumph nearly a year ago to this exact date.

The two will play 2 p.m. CT Saturday and 1 p.m. CT Sunday contests to round out the three-game set.

Follow me at twitter.com/joeyhelmer10 or facebook.com/joeyhelmer.

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