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Redemption prompts Sooners
After missing NCAA tournament, team seeks second shot

By John Helsley Published: February 13, 2008
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NORMAN — Oklahoma's Aljay Davis remembers the mood that day late last May when he sat down with eight teammates to watch the college baseball NCAA Tournament selection show.

"Team after team got picked,” Davis said Tuesday, as the Sooners held their annual Media Day. "And after our name didn't show up, reality set in.”

Reality and a burning desire for redemption.

The Sooners, who finished 34-24 overall, but just 11-16 in Big 12 play, were left out of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. A strong schedule and high RPI, along with Big 12 Tournament wins over Missouri and Oklahoma State, had given them reason for optimism.

And while just a handful of players return from a year ago, each swears to have spun disappointment into determination not to let it happen again.

"It was devastating,” said first baseman Aaron Baker, a Freshman All-American. "We all thought we had a very, very good shot at making the tournament. We were all horribly shocked.

"We're using that to our advantage this year, to play with a chip on our schedule and really motivate us.”

The Sooners return but two full-time position starters — Baker and center fielder Davis — along with pitching ace Stephen Porlier.

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Sooners at a glance
•2007 record: 34-24; 11-16, seventh Big 12

•Returning starters: CF Aljay Davis, 1B Aaron Baker, SS Bryant Hernandez; DH Mike Gosse; RHP Stephen Porlier; RHP Ryan Mottern.

•Key newcomers: OF Jamie Johnson; C J.T. Wise; RHP Chase Anderson; RHP Jeremy Erben; 3B Trey Sperring; RHP Jake McCarter.

•Season opener: Feb. 22 at UCLA.

•Big 12 opener: April 4 vs. Texas

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