NCAA Regional: Game 5
Texas A&M vs. Hofstra
May 17, 2014

Texas A&M Head Coach Jo Evans

Opening statement:
“I thought our team played well. We made a couple of mistakes along the way, but really solid great, performance by Rachel Fox. It was great to see our kids bounce back. Today was really disappointing dropping the game to OU, so I was proud of our kids for coming back, attacking the ball, scoring early and then tacking on some runs there at the end. It’s good for us to be able to leave here with a win and get ourselves focused on tomorrow.”

On having to play twice today:
“I thought they did a nice job coming back. I wouldn’t be able to explain how heartbreaking that was losing the game like that, giving it away at the end. I am really proud of our ball club. They bounced back. They huddled up together. They had their own meeting to sort of regroup. No coaches did that. They just got themselves together, and I thought they came out with good energy tonight. You could easily go, ‘It didn’t go the way we wanted it to’ and overlook Hofstra, who goes out there and really bangs the ball. I was pleased with our kids bouncing back.”

On if they have figured out OU’s starting pitcher Kelsey Stevens:
“I think that we had some really good at bats. Patience is key with her. I like that we didn’t panic. They got up the four runs, and then we managed to get some runners on, and (Amber) Garza goes up and gets the big hit. We’ve shown that we can get a big hit with runners in scoring position and that she (Stevens) can potentially give up a big hit, a long ball. I like the way our kids are swinging the bat. Of course we are going to have to face whoever they throw. They can throw any number of pitchers right now against us. I thought Kelsey went out early and really threw well, and then we took advantage of a couple of mistakes she made.”

On if she knows who will be Texas A&M’s starting pitcher tomorrow:
“I don’t. It’s been a long day. We will go back tonight and watch some film and make decisions.”

On the call at the top of the seventh inning:
“The question for the umpire was, ‘Was it fair or foul?’ I think for Hofstra the question was did our runner interfere with their first baseman. If she didn’t interfere, it was the correct call in terms of it was a foul ball, it didn’t touch her, it went straight to our dugout. But that was the question, and I think Coach (Bill) Edwards felt there was possibly interference on that play. I knew at the point when no umpire had called it right off the bat, right when the instance happened, that they most likely weren’t going to call it.”

On the difference from Hofstra in the two games:
“I think it had more to do really with Rachel Fox. I thought she was really terrific. She threw one of her very best games against Hofstra, and she needed to because yesterday they really hit the ball hard against us. They hit the ball against Bryant. I am really impressed with their hitters. I think it had more to do with Rachel mixing up her speeds and using both sides of the plate. I thought she had really good movement tonight and I just thought she did a nice job of keeping their hitters off balance. And, I will say they hit the ball hard at times right at us, and we were able to make some plays. They definitely hit the ball hard at times. Really, that error they made in that last inning was critical. When we end up scoring those three runs it just gave us some cushion to feel really comfortable, and it’s an uphill battle trying to score seven off of Rachel in the seventh inning. For them it is disappointing because they really want to keep the game close enough to have a shot to win it in the end. I enjoyed playing Hofstra the two games, not just because we won but because it’s fun to watch a team like that that just gets after it and wants to play hard and expects to win. I am impressed with their cuts. I think they get really good hacks up there. They don’t get cheated. I thought their pitcher did a really nice job against us tonight. We had to scramble to put some runs together, and I thought she threw well.”

On playing OU tomorrow after having three straight postseason losses to the team:
“I feel like it’s a great opportunity for us. It’s a great opportunity for us to write a really great story when it’s all said and done. We came here feeling like we could win this regional, and I still feel that way. If I didn’t, I shouldn’t be coaching. I just feel like we have the kind of talent and the want to and the fight that we can match up with them. It’s going to be a great opportunity for us tomorrow. Of course it’s an uphill battle when we have to beat them twice, but all I am thinking about is one game, and I am happy that we get that opportunity. You win one game, and the momentum is all on your side. It’s a big, crucial game, but when we can get that momentum, anything can happen. I am really looking forward to the fight tomorrow.”

Texas A&M Redshirt Junior Pitcher Rachel Fox

On the game:
“I think it was just a good outing all around, especially our at bats. A lot of good at bats, a lot of two-out hitting I think was really good for us. A couple of bunts that we got down that I know we sometimes struggle with, but we got our bunts down. Shore up the defense and we will be good tomorrow. It’s just good to come out with another win. When you drop a hard-fought battle like that, especially to a good team like OU, it’s a little disheartening. But we came back, we fought, we battled, we got that win and we are ready to go tomorrow.”

On having a chance to play OU again tomorrow:
“We have seen them another time. Obviously, since we faced them, we have better info on them now, and we kind of are probably going to be able to set up the batters a little differently and things like that. We’ve seen their ace, which is really, really good for us, works in our advantage. We are just going to be coming out swinging tomorrow and play great defensive and make some good outs in the circle and come away with two wins.”

Hofstra Associate Head Coach Larissa Anderson

Opening statement:
“The first thing I want to say is that Texas A&M is a quality ball club and they do things the right way. We are very happy for them. They played hard and we wish them the best of luck tomorrow. It is unfortunate that we had to end our season. We feel tremendous sympathy and sorrow for our seniors—Tori here and we have two fifth-years. We are going to miss them and the dedication that they have had to the program for the last four and five years.”

On the emotions of the seniors:
“They give so much and so much effort. Their whole life for four years and it’s one of those things—now I am going to get emotional—they don’t all get the opportunity to play after college. So when you have that final out and you know that is it and she knows she isn’t going to be able to set foot on the field, it is a lot to take in a very short period of time.”

On why they struggled offensively:
“It was the pitching we were facing. It wasn’t what was wrong with our bats, it was the great pitching we were facing. (Rachel) Fox pitched a tremendous game. She kept us off balance. Her drop ball is unbelievable. There are not many pitchers that can throw a drop ball better than her on the outside corner and then she can tease you up and in and then she has that great change up. I give all the credit to Texas A&M and the game that she threw. We did very well against Bryant. We had great, quality at bats and then when you face an All-America pitcher that is able to move the ball and pitch speeds like that, you know you are not going to be able to square up as many as you would expect. It is not always how many you get but when you get them an in this last game we didn’t get enough.

On what head coach Bill Edwards means to the program:
“He is everything to the program. He is the program. We are a blue-collar program and we get blue-collar kids and we work hard and we are going to outwork the system and work with what we have. He does not settle for mediocrity. We have the highest standard to get back to the NCAA tournament every year. We are going to outwork the system to get here with what we have every single year. He is Hofstra softball and he has built this program for years and years to come.”

On what fans can be excited about for next year:
“We have a lot of great young talent. We really do. We have the two transfers coming back and they will be seniors. Having this year under their belts is just going to make them better. They haven’t been in this situation yet. Playing at this level it comes down to one pitch and one pitch could be the deciding factor in the game. Getting that experience is going to make them better in the long run. We have great young talent coming in and we have a great freshman class right now. So good things are going to happen in the future. Obviously we have to tighten down that defense a little bit, that we didn’t show we can do this weekend, but there are a lot of promising things that are going to happen.

Hofstra Junior Pitcher Taylor Pirone

On what went wrong today:
“Yeah, the chips didn’t fall our way, but we battled out there. I threw the ball as hard as I could and I gave 100 percent on every pitch. I think my defense gave 100 percent every pitch behind me. You know what, a couple weird things happened and a couple calls didn’t go our way but the bottom line is that score is not reflective of the game that was just played.”

On the team’s prospects for next year:
“I could get emotional after one year. This program has already given me so much. My goal is the goal of every Hofstra softball player when they go out, to give back and instill something bigger. To instill the legacy that is bigger than all of us. To me, this program has given me so much and it has given me an opportunity to make a name for myself. Yeah it ends today, and I feel terrible for the seniors, but it is back to work. We have all summer and all fall and we have a preseason and a spring. It is a vicious cycle and people graduate and new people come in and that’s the way you have to look at it.”

Hofstra Senior Catcher Tori Rocha

On her home run against Bryant:
“it felt pretty good. I had been struggling at the plate but I had been seeing the ball so it was definitely a good way to go out. It felt good.”

On what the Hofstra softball program has meant to her:
“This program has been my life for four years."