Seminoles offense quiet, Sooners claim National Championship with 5-1 win in Game 3 of championship series
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Oklahoma Sooners used a pair of solo home runs and a three-run bottom of the third inning to win Game 3 of the Women’s College World Series Championship Series and the 2021 National Championship with a 51 over Florida State Thursday afternoon in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma becomes just the fourth team in WCWS history to lose their first game of the tournament and come back to win the title and the first since FSU did so in 2018.
It’s the fifth all-time WCWS title for the Sooners and the first ever runner-up finish for the Seminoles.
For the first time in the Championship Series, it was the Sooners who struck first, with a one-out solo home run to left field to give the Sooners a 1-0 lead.
OU added to their lead in the second, with their second one-out home run of the game, this one off the bat of Jayda Coleman (her first of the Championship Series) to double the Sooners lead at 2-0.
FSU cut the OU lead in half in the top of the third inning after working their first walk of the game - a leadoff walk in the inning for Kalei Harding - and an infield double (yes, you read that correctly) off the bat of Sydney Sherrill, after Oklahoma second basewoman Tiare Jennings lost an otherwise routine pop-up in the sun.
Harding scored on the play, making for a 2-1 OU lead.
Jennings and the Sooners more than made up for the play in the bottom of the third, though, touching FSU for three runs in the frame.
Jennings got the party started in with a lead off single up the middle, spelling the end of the day for Danielle Watson (L, ##) after 2+ innings of work.
Emma Wilson was first out of the bullpen for the Seminoles and struggled against the heart of the Sooners order, allowing a pair of walks, the second of which loaded the bases with two out.
Wilson then delivered a wild pitch to Jayda Coleman, allowing Jennings to come in to make it 3-1, before Coleman launched a bases-clearing double to plate Kenzie Hansen and Mackenzie Donihoo, giving the Sooners a 5-1 lead.
Kathryn Sandercock entered the game for Wilson, who induced a groundout to Sherrill at third to end the inning.
From that point, Sandercock shut down the Sooner offense, retiring nine of the 10 hitters she faced in total but still faced the minimum, getting the only hitter to reach base against her - Alo on a lead-off single in the fifth - out in a double play.
Offensively, though, the Seminoles struggled to get anything going against Sooner starter G Juarez, who allowed just four base runners all game: A lead off double by Kaley Mudge, who made WCWS history by collecting her 14th hit of the series, the third-inning walk and infield double to Harding and Sherrill, respectively, and a two-out walk to Anna Shelnutt in the top of the seventh inning.
Shelnutt’s seventh-inning walk came after back-to-back strikeouts by Cassidy Davis and Dani Morgan.
Devyn Flaherty worked a seven-pitch at-bat against Juarez, including fouling off four straight to stay alive, but popped up against her to end the game and the WCWS.
The Sooners couldn’t have asked for a better start from Juarez (W, 23-1), who scattered the two aforementioned hits over seven complete innings and striking out seven over 112 total pitches.
Aside from the two solo home runs, Watson (L, 12-2) was effective in her two-plus innings of work, allowing one other hit and striking out two on 46 pitches, but was tagged for a third run with Wilson in the circle.
Sandercock was as efficient as you could have asked for, throwing 20 of her 25 pitches for strikes over 3.1 innings of work, allowing just one hit, the Alo single to open the fifth.
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