Game over: OU eliminated after ECU loss


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia – While the Oklahoma Sooners gave the East Carolina Pirates a better game the second time around, ECU still eliminated OU from the NCAA Tournament, a year removed from playing for the national championship in Omaha.

Unlike OU’s Friday matchup against East Carolina, the Sooners did not take more than half of the game to get on the board. In fact, the Sooners took the lead in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly off Junior Anthony Mackenzie’s bat.

Things were looking good early for the Sooners. James Hitt retired the Pirates in order in the first two innings and OU took its 1-0 lead into the top of the third.

Then the ECU bats came alive. The Pirates got on the board on a squeeze bunt play that looked similar to the one they used on Friday night. ECU went on to score two more and wouldn’t give back the lead for the rest of the afternoon.

A five-run fifth inning from the Pirates ensured that any comeback attempt from OU would be both too little and too late.

Much like in their first matchup against ECU, missed opportunities were a common theme early for the Sooners. OU stranded 11 runners on base and including loading the bases in the bottom of the first.

An early exit from regionals is always disappointing for a program with national championship aspirations, but head coach Skip Johnson knows what comes next for his program.

“(We’re going to) go back, regroup.” said Johnson. “Try to regroup the whole pitching staff together. We got a lot of young guys coming in and just trying to put the pieces together.”

Johnson knows he has the players to continue to make this program successful, but he also spoke highly of the still growing OU Baseball fanbase.

“This year our fanbase probably grew 30 or 40 or 50% compared to years past. That’s what my vision was when I got the job at the University of Oklahoma, was to pack the berms and have them (the fans) care about baseball as much as those kids in the dugouts care about baseball.”

Making the NCAA tournament after losing 11 players to the MLB Draft was no small feat for this program. With one final year in the Big 12 before jumping to the SEC, there’s a lot of work in the offseason for Skip Johnson and co.


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