Oklahoma softball pitcher Paige Lowary was the No. 1 overall pick in the National Pro Fastpitch League Draft on Monday, and one of three Sooners selected in the opening two rounds.
Lowary was the top pick of the Chicago Bandits and becomes the second player in OU softball history to be selected No. 1 overall in the NPF Draft. The first Sooner to go No. 1 in the annual professional softball draft was Lauren Chamberlain in 2015.
Teammate Paige Parker joined Lowary as a first-round NPF Draft selection, taken by the USSSA Pride with the sixth overall pick. The Pride selected another Sooner, Nicole Pendley, with its second-round pick, the 12th overall selection in the draft.
The three draft selections from Oklahoma are one shy of the most Sooners drafted on one year. Four OU players were selected in 2013.
Lowary played two seasons at Missouri before transferring to OU for her junior season. In her two seasons as a Sooner she has established the program record for saves (18) and helped lead Oklahoma to its second consecutive Women’s College World Series championship last season. She leads the Big 12 this season with an earned run average of 0.76.
Parker has been the main starter on the Oklahoma pitching staff for four seasons. She has 113 career wins and is 21-2 this season (11, with the Big 12’s second-best ERA (0.85). The three-time All-American has limited opponents this season to a .140 batting average.
Pendley, whose sister Shelby played at Oklahoma and was drafted by the USSSA Pride in 2015, is hitting .313 this season, with an on-base percentage of .444 and a slugging percentage of .589. She has drawn 28 bases on balls this season, third-best in the Big 12, and has driven in 36 runs and scored 32.
The three Sooners taken in this year’s draft brings to 17 the total number of Oklahoma players selected in the history of the NPF Draft. That is the most of any school.
Players drafted by one of the five NPF teams gives that team rights to the player for two full seasons. A senior athlete may not sign with an NPF franchise until her 2018 college season is completed.