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Juarez beats Oklahoma to Florida State for fifth title


Giselle Juárez threw her second full game in a row and Oklahoma defeated Florida State 5–1 in the Women’s College World Series to win its fifth national championship.

The Sooners lacked a leading pitcher in the series, but Juarez answered the call, allowing one run on two hits in deciding Game 3. Oklahoma won Game 2 6–2 behind Juarez, who was leading 5–0 in the World Series and declared the Most Outstanding Player, conceding four runs in 31 1/3 innings.

There was a huge crowd when Juarez scored in the seventh inning. Well, Final Out was a popup in his glove. Teammates surrounded him and “Boomer Sooner” blew the sound system as a crowd of mostly Oklahoma fans celebrated the victory just 25 miles from campus.

It wasn’t easy for the top-seeded Sooners – they came out of the loser’s square after dropping a stunner to Odyssey Alexander and unseeded James Madison in the opening game of the tournament. But Oklahoma beat James Madison twice in the semifinal round, then recovered from a loss to Florida State in the championship series opener.

Oklahoma (56-4) also won titles under coach Patty Gaso in 2000, 2013, 2016 and 2017. The Sooners set a Division I single-season record this season with 161 home runs.

Jocelyn Alo made her way to Game 3, her 34th of the season, expanding her school single-season record. The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year hit four homers in the World Series, including a go-ahead blast in Game 2.

Left fielder McKenzie Donihu scored 10 runs for 21 in the World Series and took several brilliant catches during the week.

Florida State (49-13-1) were seeking their second national championship in the last three World Series under coach Lonnie Almeida. Katherine Sandercock dropped a hit in 3 1/3 innings of relief in the final game. He won three games in the World Series.

Florida State freshman Kelly Mudge holds the record for most hits in the Women’s College World Series with 14.

Allo’s Homer started things off for Oklahoma on Thursday. Freshman Jayda Coleman struck just over the fence in the second innings to give Sooners a 2-0 lead and the opening setback they lacked for most of the week.

Florida State scored in third when Tiare Jennings of Oklahoma lost a popup in the sun, allowing Kelly Harding to score.

Oklahoma responded quickly. With a base load and two outs in the third, Jennings scored on a wild pitch by freshman reliever Emma Wilson. Coleman then hit a hard line drive from the wall of the left field to score two goals to give the Sooners a 5–1 lead.

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

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