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Oklahoma Sooners Softball: OU falls to James Madison, 4-3, in opening round of 2021 WCWS

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The Sooners tasted defeat for just the third time this season in the opening round of the WCWS.

2019 NCAA Division I Women’s Softball Championship Photo by Shane Bevel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

On Thursday, the No. 1 seeded Oklahoma Sooners (50-3) opened the 2021 Women’s College World Series with a 4-3 extra-inning loss to the James Madison Dukes (40-2). With the loss, OU now faces elimination in the second round of the WCWS.

Senior righty Shannon Saile got the start in the circle for the Sooners in Oklahoma City, and in 8.0 innings, the veteran gave up three hits on the day while recording nine strikeouts on 121 total pitches.

JMU struck first in the top of the third inning with a three-run homer from Sara Jubas to take a 3-0 lead over the heavily favored Sooners, but that was the end of the scoring in regulation for the upset-minded Dukes.

OU responded to the deficit right away in the bottom of the frame, as senior Jana Johns led things off by reaching first off a James Madison error in the infield. Next, senior Taylon Snow singled to left before NFCA Freshman of the Year Tiare Jennings paid it all off with a three-run bomb of her own. That would be all in the side for the top seed in the tournament as the contest moved to the fourth all tied up at 3-3.

In the top of the eighth, JMU’s Kate Gordon cranked a solo home run to left center, effectively retaking the lead for her Dukes. OU’s Saile kept her composure to close out the rest of the side as the Sooners faced a 4-3 deficit heading into the bottom of the extra frame.

With one out in the bottom of the eighth, USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Jocelyn Alo reached first on a four-pitch walk, but back-to-back flyouts from sophomore Kinzie Hansen and freshman Jayda Coleman resulted in an opening round WCWS loss for OU.

Up next, Oklahoma will play the loser between the Georgia Bulldogs and Oklahoma State Cowgirls in an elimination match on Saturday (as it turns out, it’s Georgia). Interestingly enough, both UGA and OSU are the only other teams to defeat the Sooners this season, but by having played each team multiple times already, Patty Gasso’s squad should feel relatively confident about either potential matchup as long as the bats can get going again. We can also hope for the umpire crew to do a bit better this time around, but I’m not holding my breath.

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