“That was fight, that was grit, that was heart, that was passion,” Alexander said during an on-field interview after getting Oklahoma cleanup hitter Jayda Coleman to fly out to left field for the final out.
Oklahoma was 50-2 and averaging more than 11 runs per game coming into Thursday’s opener of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament, which culminates in a best-of-three championship series next week. In five games during regionals and super regionals, the four-time NCAA champion Sooners outscored their opponents 63-15. Their only runs against Alexander, who boasts a 1.23 ERA and now has six wins in this postseason, came on a three-run homer by national freshman of the year Tiare Jennings in the third inning.
JMU swept its way through the Knoxville Regional and defeated Missouri in two out of three games in the super regionals to clinch its spot in Oklahoma City. The Colonial Athletic Association champions are the first non-Power 5 conference team to appear in the Women’s College World Series since 2014. JMU became the first unseeded team to win Game 1 at the Women’s College World Series since Louisiana upset top-seeded Florida in 2008. (The Ragin’ Cajuns went on to lose their next two games.)
The Dukes (40-2) managed only three hits against Oklahoma starter Shannon Saile, who suffered her first loss of the season. But those hits included a three-run homer by junior infielder Sara Jubas and Gordon’s team-leading 19th home run of the season.
Gordon was due after going 0 for 10 in the super regional and 0 for 3 with a pair of strikeouts Thursday before stepping to the plate in the eighth.
“It was a tough postseason, but we play as team, we are a team,” Gordon told ESPN after the game. “I know my teammates pick me up. My job is just to get on base for them and they’re going to do what they do behind me.”
JMU advances to play Oklahoma State, which edged Georgia 3-2, on Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern.
Read more from The Post: