Oklahoma tops James Madison; rematch to decide WCWS finalist

Tiare Jennings hit a leadoff homer and drove in the go-ahead run with a seventh-inning double, and No. 1 seed Oklahoma avenged a stunning loss to unseeded James Madison, beating the Dukes 6-3  in the Women’s College World Series semifinals

OKLAHOMA CITY — Tiare Jennings hit a leadoff homer and drove in the go-ahead run with a seventh-inning double, and No. 1 seed Oklahoma avenged a stunning loss to unseeded James Madison, beating the Dukes 6-3 on Sunday in the Women’s College World Series semifinal.

The rematch and the championship series were pushed back a day because a 2 1/2-hour weather delay pushed back Sunday’s Florida State-Alabama game shortly after it started. Florida State eventually won 2-0 to force a decisive game.

Sara Jubas hit a three-run homer and Odicci Alexander threw a 118-pitch complete game for James Madison (41-3). Alexander already had complete-game wins over Oklahoma and No. 5 seed Oklahoma State at the World Series.

“It’s always a little bit easier the second — not easier, but you have more knowledge the second time around,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. “And having never faced her, we were not prepared for what she was bringing.”

Alexander expected the Sooners to be better prepared in the rematch.

“Oklahoma does have a tough offense,” she said. “Facing them twice, I knew it was going to be hard. I knew they were going to put balls in play. They kind of just strung their hits together more than we did.”

Jennings’ double in the seventh scored Rylie Boone, who had opened the inning with a perfectly placed bunt single, to make it 4-3. Kinzie Hansen followed with a two-run homer for the Sooners.

JMU trailed 1-0 in the third when Madison Naujokas hit a ball solidly down the left field line that rolled into foul territory and under a fence for a ground-rule double. Logan Newton, who would have scored if the ball remained playable, was held up at third. The Sooners escaped the inning without allowing a run.

Nicole Mendes tripled to drive in Mackenzie Donihoo and make it 3-0 in the third.

Jubas’ two-out blast tied it in the fourth.

“Sara’s so clutch, so composed, and she loves that moment,” James Madison coach Loren LaPorte said. “She always does really good for us in those moments. Super proud of her.”

James Madison remained confident. The Dukes lost to Missouri in super regionals before taking the winner-take-all third game.

“It just showed us we have the fight and the drive to keep pushing ourselves and to win the third game,” Jubas said. “And so I think we’re going to take that through to this series as well.”

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Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CliffBruntAP

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