Sooners ready to face Terriers again after early season loss
NORMAN — Paige Lowary doesn't remember much about the first time Oklahoma faced Boston University.
The senior pitcher remembers being sick. She remembers practically everyone being sick.
With more than half the team battling the flu, the Sooners lost their first game of the season just six games into the year as the Terriers beat OU 4-3 at the Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
“It was early in the season,” Lowary said. “They beat us fair and square that game.”
It was an ugly game for OU, and one the Sooners would like to get back.
They'll get their chance on Friday night as they open the NCAA Tournament by playing BU at 6 p.m. (ESPN2).
“I think the team is looking forward to that game,” OU coach Patty Gasso said. “Anytime you lose a game to somebody, it's like you just can't wait to get them back. So we're looking forward to that in the way of get them back on the field again and play it out and if they beat you again, then they're better than you.
“When we saw that we were like, feeling there's a chance to wash that away, if possible. We were looking forward to that.”
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After two rainouts in Las Cruces, the Sooners (50-3) finally got to open tournament play with BU on Feb. 17.
The Terriers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the second inning and held on as OU committed two errors in the top of the sixth frame, allowing BU to add two more runs. The Sooners wound up committing just 15 errors all season, and three of them came against Boston.
“Early wake-up call — too early,” infielder Caleigh Clifton said. “I think they're a tough team and I think they played with a lot of confidence, but that definitely wasn't the type of game that we wanted to have against them and they got us.”
OU went on to lose only two more games the rest of the season and win the Big 12 with an unblemished conference record.
Meanwhile, the Terriers also went on to win their conference, dropping only three games in Patriot League play.
Though they didn't get to play a home game until March 28 due to snowy Boston weather, BU compiled a 39-18 record, going 14-8 on the road and 12-7 at neutral sites. At home, the Terriers put together a 13-3 record, mostly playing in front of crowds smaller than 50 people.
Like the Sooners, BU also racked up individual conference awards. Pitcher Ali DuBois was named both the Patriot League Pitcher of the Year and Rookie of the Year, and junior Madi Killebrew was named the Patriot League Tournament MVP with 10 RBIs during the weekend.
BU earned an NCAA Tournament auto-bid with an 8-0 defeat of Lehigh in the Patriot League Tournament.
The Terriers aren't strangers to playing in the NCAA Tournament. They've played in a regional in six of the last 10 years, and are 7-16 in NCAA action. BU has won at least one game in five of its previous eight appearances.
If the Sooners took BU lightly in the first meeting, they certainly aren't doing that now.
“It kind of surprised us,” Lowary said. “I think we were kind of overlooking that team and we shouldn't have. We're definitely not now.”