OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma forced an “if-necessary” game in the semifinal round of the Women’s College World Series on Sunday.
Drawing the noon start, OU beat James Madison 6-3, earning a chance to play the Dukes one more time, the winner to advance to the World Series’ championship series.
That game, originally set for Sunday night, has been pushed to Monday.
The game that followed the Sooners and Dukes — Florida State and Alabama, an elimination contest for the Seminoles — did not begin until after 6 p.m. due to a weather delay.
Following Florida State’s 2-0 victory, a game that ended after 8 p.m., rather than clear the stadium, bring the fans back and have the Sooners and Dukes begin around 9 p.m. or later, the decision was made to push both the OU-JMU and FSU-Alabama rematches to Monday.
OU will take the field against JMU at 3 p.m., with Florida State and Alabama beginning about a half hour after it finishes.
Just three teams have won the national championship after losing their opener. Both the Sooners and Seminoles still have that opportunity.
Right from the beginning, OU looked like a team ready to keep its season going.
Tiare Jennings got the Sooners off to a hot start with a lead off home run to open the contest, her 27th of the season. The homer was also her 91st RBI, breaking the NCAA freshman record. Jennings already holds OU’s program record for RBIs in a season.
The Sooners added to their lead in the second and fourth innings. Jana Johns hit a line drive to center that JMU’s Michelle Sullivan layed out for and caught, but Grace Lyons tagged up and scored on the play.
Later, Nicole Mendes ripped a triple that got under the diving Sullivan to score Mackenzie Donihoo.
JMU erased the OU (53-3) lead with one swing as Sara Jubas drilled a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to even the score. Jubas hit a three-run bomb off Shannon Saile in Thursday’s game as well that jumped the Dukes out to an early lead before they won that contest in eight innings.
The Sooners finished with seven hits. Yet, more than that, they put them together and hit with power, four of them going for extra bases.
But for a three-run third inning on Thursday, JMU’s Odicci Alexander kept the Sooners in check. Saturday’s early game had a different feel to it from the first batter forward.
“You have more knowledge the second time around,” Sooner coach Patty Gasso said. “Having never faced her, we were not prepared for what she was bringing [Thursday].”
OU and JMU (41-3) remained tied until the top of the seventh when Jennings roped a double to right-center field that scored Rylie Boone. Two batters later, Kinzie Hansen blasted a two-run home run to extend the lead.
Saile started in the circle for the Sooners, appearing for the first time since giving up only three hits in Thursday’s loss to the Dukes.
She gave up six hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings before being replaced by Nicole May.
The freshman went the rest of the way and struck out five while holding the Dukes scoreless, nabbing her first World Series victory.
“Our goal was just to keep going,” Gasso said.
OU kept going.