Oklahoma’s quest for a three-peat softball championship officially gets underway on Fraday afternoon. The Sooners will have the opportunity to advance all the way to the Women’s College World Series without ever leaving the state of Oklahoma. They’ll need to get past some familiar foes at the Norman Regional first.
Oklahoma opens up tournament play with Boston University, a team they lost to at the Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Junior catcher Alex Heinen leads the Terriers in batting average, at .366, and has also driven in a team-high 50 RBI. Emma Wong is hitting .350 and has crossed home plate 52 times this season.
From the circle Boston University has a team ERA of 2.22. They are led by freshman Ali DuBois who has started thirty-seven games this season and made forty-seven appearances. She’s sporting a 1.77 ERA and has a 28-7 record.
Not only are the Tulsa Golden Hurricane no strangers to the Sooners, they’re also no stranger to the Norman Regional. They faced Oklahoma twice in last year’s regional, losing 6-4, in extras, in the first game and then 3-0 the second time around.
Senior pitcher Emily Watson brings star power to the circle for Tulsa. She held Oklahoma to just a single run in their previous meeting this season. The Sooners left Tulsa with a 1-0 victory but Watson made her mark on the game holding OU’s powerful offense to just three hits on the night.
On the season Watson is 23-11, in 35 appearances, and has a 1.55 ERA. She’s fanned 300 total batters over the course of her senior campaign.
From the plate Julia Hollingsworth paces Tulsa with a .394 batting average. A master at getting around the bases, Hollingsworth has scored 53 runs this season.
Missouri represents the unknown for Oklahoma this season. While pitchers Paige Lowary and Parker Conrad are extremely familiar with the Missouri program, the Sooners and Tigers haven’t competed against one another since Missouri left the Big 12 following the 2012 season.
Junior Amanda Sanchez has started all of Missouri’s 52 games this season and has a .371 batting average. She’s tied with sophomore Cayla Kessinger for the team lead in home runs (10) but leads the Tigers with 31 RBI.
Missouri comes into the Norman Regional with a team ERA of 4.15. Their pitching staff has given up 55 home runs this season.
Missouri (28-27, 6-17) and Tulsa (33-23, 10-11) will get the regional started on Friday afternoon, with the Sooners (50-3, 18-0) and Boston University (39-18, 15-3) following. First pitch in the opener is set for 3:30 CT with OU/BU coming around 6:00 on ESPN2.
Saturday will feature three games at the regional, with the two winners from Friday playing each other first. The two losers from Friday will plan an elimination game after that, followed by the loser of Saturday’s game one playing the winner of game two in the second elimination game of the day.
The survivor of Saturday’s elimination games will play the game one winner on Sunday and must beat that team twice.