Oklahoma tops James Madison, advances to championship series

Giselle Juarez struck out 11 in another stellar performance, helping top-seeded Oklahoma beat Odicci Alexander and James Madison 7-1 in a Women’s College World Series semifinal

OKLAHOMA CITY — Giselle Juarez struck out 11 in another stellar performance, helping top-seeded Oklahoma beat Odicci Alexander and James Madison 7-1 in a Women’s College World Series semifinal on Monday.

Behind Alexander’s pitching, unseeded James Madison surprised Oklahoma on the opening day of the tournament Thursday to move the Sooners into the losers bracket. Oklahoma won two games on Saturday, and then beat James Madison on Sunday to force the winner-take-all game for a spot in the championship series.

Alexander, who pitched complete games in wins over Oklahoma and No. 5 seed Oklahoma State to reach the semifinals, lasted into the fifth inning Monday. The crowd of mostly Oklahoma fans gave a tearful Alexander a standing ovation as she left the field.

It was the first World Series appearance for James Madison (41-4), the Colonial Athletic Association champion.

Juarez, or “G” as she often goes by, allowed four hits in the complete game. Kate Gordon drove the left-hander’s first pitch over the wall in left, riling up the small group of loyal purple-clad fans behind the team’s dugout, but it was all Juarez from there.

Oklahoma went ahead to stay in the fourth. Nicole Mendes tripled and scored on a wild pitch. Jana Johns made it 2-1 when she singled in Lynnsie Elam.

The Sooners then broke it open with four runs in the fifth. Mackenzie Donihoo and Jayda Coleman each had a two-run double.

Jocelyn Alo hit her 32nd homer of the season — extending her school record — in the sixth to push Oklahoma’s lead to 7-1.

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

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