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Oklahoma Sooners Softball: OU outlasts JMU, 6-3 in WCWS semifinal to force elimination game

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OU is now one win away from returning to the WCWS championship series.

Syndication: The Oklahoman BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN via Imagn Content Services, LLC

On Sunday, the No. 1 seeded Oklahoma Sooners (53-3) defeated the James Madison Dukes (41-3), 6-3 to force an elimination game for a spot in the 2021 Women’s College World Series championship series.

Redshirt senior Shannon Saile got the start in the circle for the Sooners on Sunday, and in 3.2 innings, the right-handed pitcher gave up six hits without striking out any Dukes on 85 total pitches. Freshman righty Nicole May would spell her in the bottom of the third and recorded five strikeouts against 13 batters to close out the contest.

In the top of the first inning, NFCA Freshman of the Year Tiare Jennings got things started with a lead-off solo home run to center. After that, JMU’s Odicci Alexander was able to retire the next three Sooner bats. OU would take its 1-0 lead into the bottom of the frame.

In the top of the second, junior Grace Lyons singled to right before stealing second. Next, Alexander walked fan-favorite sophomore Mackenzie Donihoo, and a wild pitch later allowed both Sooners to advance into scoring position. Senior Jana Johns made James Madison pay soon thereafter with an RBI flyout to center to give Oklahoma an early 2-0 lead.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Donihoo singled to left, then senior Nicole Mendes tripled to center to drive in another run for OU to make it a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, JMU’s Sara Jubas launched her second three-run homer against Oklahoma in the WCWS to tie the ball game up at three runs apiece.

In the top of the seventh, sophomore Rylie Boone stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter and delivered a perfect bunt to reach first, then Jennings sent her all the way home as she crushed the stuffing out of a pitch for an RBI double.

With one on and one out, sophomore Kinzie Hansen sent the crowd in Oklahoma City into a frenzy with a two-run bomb to center, effectively extending the Sooners’ advantage to 6-3 and ultimately winning the game.

Up next, Oklahoma and James Madison will battle it out once again later today, this time for a spot in the WCWS championship series. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2.

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