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Oklahoma Sooners Softball: OU handles JMU, 7-1, advances to WCWS championship series

OU is back in the WCWS national championship series!

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

On Monday afternoon, the No. 1 seeded Oklahoma Sooners (54-3) bested the James Madison Dukes (41-4) by a score of 7-1 in the 2021 Women’s College World Series semifinals. With the win, OU advances to the WCWS national championship series.

Redshirt senior Giselle ‘G’ Juarez got the start in the circle and was sensational on Monday for the Sooners. In 7.0 innings, the lefty gave up just four hits while striking out 11 batters on 112 total pitches.

With the very first pitch of the game in the top of the first inning, JMU’s Kate Gordon cranked a solo home run out of the field of play to give James Madison an early 1-0 lead over Oklahoma. Juarez was able to rebound after that and retire the next three Dukes players.

The Sooners’ bats finally got going in the bottom of the fourth, as senior Nicole Mendes led things off with a triple to right center before sophomore Makenzie Donihoo was walked on a wild pitch that also allowed Mendy to run home and tie up the ball game. Next, senior captain Lynnsie Elam reached on a fielder’s choice, followed by back-to-back singles to left from freshman Jayda Coleman and senior Jana Johns to add another run on the board and give Oklahoma its first lead of the day.

In the bottom of the fifth, sophomore Kinzie Hansen and junior Grace Lyons each recorded singles to left, then with two outs, Donihoo came up clutch once again and doubled to center to plate her two teammates.

The scoring wasn’t over for OU in the fifth after that. Following a walk for senior captain Lynnsie Elam, Coleman doubled to center right to add another pair of runs to the Sooners’ total. Oklahoma would take a 6-1 lead over JMU into the top of the sixth.

Following a pitching change for Dukes star Odicci Alexander, USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Jocelyn Alo led the sixth inning off with a moon shot to the bleachers beyond center field, effectively putting her team up, 7-1. With Juarez’s elite pitching, James Madison simply could not muster enough heat at the plate to get back in the game.

Up next, Oklahoma moves on to the Women’s College World Series national championship series set to begin Tuesday, June 8 at 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN. The Sooners will play the winner between the No. seeded Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 10 seeded Florida State Seminoles. After opening the WCWS with a first round loss, OU now has a clean slate and needs to win a best-of-three series against either ‘Bama or FSU.

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