JMU softball headed to Women’s College World Series after winning Columbia Super Regional

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James Madison catcher Lauren Bernett (22) and pitcher Odicci Alexander (3) celebrate their 2-1 win over Missouri during a NCAA softball game on Friday, May 28, 2021 in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The James Madison University softball team has made history, beating Missouri 7-2 in a winner-take-all game to capture the Columbia Super Regional championship and advance to the 2021 NCAA Women’s College World Series.

The Dukes (39-2) shut down the Tigers (42-17) thanks to a standout performance in the pitcher’s circle from senior Odicci Alexander, who threw a 104-pitch complete game allowing two runs on four hits and six strikeouts.

JMU won the first game of a best-of-three series 2-1 on May 28, putting them on the doorstep of the program’s first trip to the national championship tournament in Oklahoma City. Missouri battled back on May 29, beating the Dukes 7-1 to force the deciding contest Sunday afternoon.

The Dukes trailed the Tigers 1-0 through three innings before an RBI sacrifice fly off the bat of Lynsey Meeks brought Madison Naujokas home to tie the game in the fourth.

JMU plated two runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead before exploding for four more runs in the top of the seventh, closing the door on Missouri’s hopes of staging a comeback.

Logan Newton led the Dukes with three hits. Sara Jubas, Odicci Alexander and Lauren Bernett each had two hits apiece.

The Women’s College World Series begins June 3. JMU joins powerhouse programs Oklahoma, Alabama, UCLA and Arizona in the eight-team field. Florida State and Georgia will also compete. Either Texas or Oklahoma State will claim the final spot on Sunday evening.

JMU is the first program not in the ACC, SEC, Big 12, Pac-12 or Big Ten to make the College World Series since 2014, when Louisiana-Lafayette made it out of the Sun Belt Conference.

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