WCWS Day 4 Results In If-Necessary Games, Schedule Changes
Game 11: Oklahoma 6, JMU 3
Tiare Jennings set the tone in the game’s first at-bat. Oklahoma was going to have a better day against JMU’s Odicci Alexander. The Freshman of the Year drove out a leadoff homer and broke the Freshman RBI record in the process.
The Sooners were making better contact against Alexander, but didn’t have much to show for it until the top of the seventh. Tied at three following another Sara Jubas three-run bomb, Jennings made her biggest impact of the day hitting the go-ahead RBI triple.
Kinzie Hansen also added some much-needed insurance runs. She lined one to the center field warning track in the first inning, but in the seventh, she got all of it. The two-run blast put Oklahoma up three.
“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...It wasn't easy. Don't get me wrong. She still had a lot of our numbers. But I just felt like we felt more confident, a little more prepared with what we needed to do to get to the ball quicker than what we were doing yesterday.”
The always energetic, passionate Jayda Coleman seemed to spark the seventh-inning rally with her glove. Coleman added to her defensive highlight reel in center with this diving catch in the sixth.
“Obviously, Jayda Coleman's play in center field, she's been doing it all year long,” Gasso said. “It was an absolute momentum builder for us and a timely, timely play...But we've been known for big plays. And Jayda Coleman seems to always be in the middle of that.”
Game 12: Florida State 2, Alabama 0
Good pitching and clutch at-bats. The formula continues to work out for Florida State through the losers’ bracket, despite having to play past midnight and to go through another rain delay.
Caylan Arnold and Kathryn Sandercock combined for a complete-game shutout. Arnold, who got the start on Sunday, pitched well for 4.1 innings, having only allowed two hits. However, Florida State coach Lonni Alameda used a timely strategy to bring her ace back in relief. The NCAA announced that with a Noles' win, both “if necessary” games would be pushed to Monday.
Sandercock retired all seven batters she faced, continuing her phenomenal Oklahoma City run.
“We want to give everything that we have for our team,” Arnold said. “That's what I went out there trying to do today. People were asking me, ‘How do you feel? Are you tired?’ Obviously, I'm tired, we're all tired. I just said I'm going to go out there and give it my best. And Kat's done the same thing. Kat's been phenomenal all year long. I didn't expect anything other than that from her. And I'm just really happy that we were both able to come out and be successful.”
Alabama elected to save Montana Fouts, going with Lexi Kilfoyl in the circle. Kilfoyl did well, but without any run support, even the small blemishes hurt her. Florida State put together three singles in the fifth, allowing Sydney Sherrill a chance to open the scoreless contest with the bases loaded and two outs. Kilfoyl started the at-bat 0-2, but Sherrill battled back, didn’t expand her zone and forced a seven-pitch walk for an RBI.
Dani Morgan tripled in the sixth inning, putting an insurance run in scoring position. Josie Muffley kept it simple, taking what she was given at the plate. A single into right field brought in the second run.
As mentioned before, with the rain delay, and probably the help of the backlash following the Florida State and Oklahoma State start time on Saturday, the NCAA decided to push both win-or-go-home games to Monday and the first game of the championship series to Tuesday.
“I appreciate it...So I think that's a smart decision on their part,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “And in the future I'm sure that everybody on the NCAA side would love to sit down and just talk about options for perhaps a better bracket, you know? And they've always said that to me.
“They say think outside the box and I'm sure that this committee would listen to some coaches and I think that's something that really needs to be looked at after the World Series. And I'm sure they're thinking about it, too, because nobody wants to be playing until 3:00 a.m. and no fan wants to be in the stands until 3:00 a.m.”
Oklahoma and James Madison will play at 4:00 p.m. ET on Monday. The Alabama and Florida State rematch will follow shortly after. Both games will be on ESPN.