NCAA Regional: OU vs. Texas A&M Quotes

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MAY 18, 2014

NCAA Regional: Game 6
Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M
May 18, 2014

Oklahoma Head Coach Patty Gasso

Opening Statement:
“First, I just want to congratulate Texas A&M for just being the program that they are because any time that I see them coming to Norman, it really, really makes my stomach turn because they are such an outstanding program. They have been living by their offense and it showed. I mean, that team can swing it. They are very athletic and I congratulate Coach [Jo] Evans and what she’s done with her team this season. I also want to thank our fans for an absolutely tremendous weekend of being the 10th man for us. They really stepped forward when they knew we were going to be hosting, and I love that. This team has been blessed. They played their hearts out, they appreciate every moment on the field and they don’t take anything for granted. They enjoy playing for each other in the way of stepping up for one another; they’re always there to back up our pitcher or anybody who might have a tough day. They’re a special group and they came ready to play today.”

On the offense:
“Destinee [Martinez] is on fire right now and we kind of put her down in the lineup to start things up in the 7, 8, 9; but [Callie] Parsons is on fire right now. With Destinee at the top, she’s doing a really good job of table setting. She always, since she’s been here, has been really, really effective in the postseason and Parsons is starting to become the same way. Callie and Destinee had okay, good seasons but not great and no one cares, they care about what they’re doing right now and it’s the only thing that matters. We have Shelby [Pendley] after Destinee and then we have Lauren [Chamberlain] and Brittany [Williams] backs up Lauren and you just have nowhere to go. I do believe that’s important; your 6,7,8,9 so how are these guys doing? Well Whitney Ellis is hitting the ball hard in the 6 and Parsons is 3-4. Her hustle play down the first base line early in the game was big and I don’t know that people will look back at that. Erin Miller has two base-on-balls and she’s finding her way on. She hit a hard shot for an RBI. Javen [Henson] lays down a bunt, beats it out and then hits a long fly ball that moves our runner on third and turns into an RBI. They are doing things that are fundamental and very efficient and allowing our hitters—Chamberlain got her two RBIs, Brittany got her two RBIs. If you look down the entire lineup, everybody contributed today. What else can you ask for?”

On Kelsey Stevens’ improvement:
“Absolutely [was better today]. I think what may be one of the biggest things that happened out of this Regional is the way we won the game yesterday. That was a game where she really struggled and if you can still watch your team come back and find a way to win after that; you better come back and fight. I don’t care how good you are, you’re going to have to fight. I think she came out understanding that she needed to compete. I think some of those nerves went away. It is a tough position to be in, coming into a program who just won the national championship and everyone’s expectations are through the roof. There are no excuses, I know that, but it’s a tough position to be in and I think she started to feel that a little bit. What she understands is that this team can do some phenomenal, phenomenal things. She gives up two runs and we score five. She gives two more and we score four in the next two innings. They just don’t stop, they say, ‘Don’t worry.’ A&M is a good, good hitting team, they are, and they’ve had to live their season that way so we faced a very seasoned offensive team and she needed to face that. That team right there made Kelsey better. That whole weekend was tough on her, but it’s going to make her better for next weekend.”

On her confidence in the team after this weekend:
“You can’t doubt them. I can’t go, ‘Gosh, well I think we’re out of luck.’ They won’t stop, they won’t stop. This started by mid-March, they started to figure out who they were and they’ve been on an absolute tear and it’s pretty potent. What’s different is that you know the names [Lauren] Chamberlain and [Shelby] Pendley but some of these other names—I don’t think people understand how valuable Whitney Ellis has been, not just offensively but behind the plate. No one runs on her so you can’t get yourself in scoring position. If you want to give up an out by laying down a bunt, thank you for that out, we need it. They don’t take jumps because they’re afraid to get off the bag which gives us an opportunity to get lead outs on ground balls. There are those little things that we know she’s doing to help us out defensively. There are just some names that you maybe don’t hear too much about. One thing that I love is what the seniors are doing. You cannot ask for anything more than for them to leave it on the field and each one of them is doing that like nobody’s business. So, regardless of if we win it all again or wherever we finish, I will be and they will be very pleased with how they walk away from this program.”

On the rematch with Tennessee:
“Tennessee is always going to be a name that lives in our history. We won the national championship [last year] and they were preseason ranked No. 1. You guys all remember people raising a stink over that. They have expectations that they should because they return their pitcher, they return the SEC Player of the Year in [Madison] Shipman so they have a solid pitching staff, good hitters and they are well-coached. They have the experience that we have so it’s going to be a great matchup and it’s unfortunate that one of us is going to be knocked out and one of us is going forward but you’re going to see two teams that are going to leave it on the field. It’s going to be a great Super Regional.”

Oklahoma Junior Lauren Chamberlain:

On the movement of the lineup:
“It helps a lot. Special shout out to the bottom of our lineup because that was crucial for us last year and it’s proving again this year in postseason that it’s a team effort and that all the hits that we can get help. I think the bottom of the lineup turning over to the top was huge for us.”

On playing Tennessee:
“It’s exciting to think back to last year, but this is a whole new year and a different type of postseason for us. The wins are going to look a little different. Like I said, a total team effort and that’s what it’s going to take to beat Tennessee. They’re a great team coming in and I know our fans will step it up for us. It’s going to be a fun atmosphere, for sure.

On her knee:
“It actually felt pretty good today.”

Oklahoma Senior Destinee Martinez

On the movement of the lineup:
“Like she [Chamberlain] said; them turning it over helps a lot. We talk about passing the torch so everyone is doing their jobs.”

On her triple:
“We talk about just playing in the present; I don’t think about any of the previous at bats. One of my jobs is to get the ball on the ground and move runners, but with bases loaded it’s kind of hard to move runners when it’s on the ground so I was kind of just looking for an up pitch and that’s what I got.

On last night’s winning run:
“It was kind of just in the moment. Coach [Patty] Gasso was kind of watching everything else and the defense was kind of watching everything else so I figured, we tied up the game, why not go for the run? It didn’t seem to me like the catcher was set for a play.”

Oklahoma Sophomore Kelsey Stevens

On the difference in her pitching from the last two games:
“I think it was just my mindset. I was going to go out there no matter what. If they hit the ball, it didn’t matter, I was going to go out there and get the next batter. I just wanted to make sure I limited the runs as much as I could for my team.

On the winds blowing out affecting her approach:
“I still pitch my game; it doesn’t really change. Occasionally they’re going to get lucky and unfortunately they did a few times on my changeup. It doesn’t matter; I’m going to come back and my team has my back.”

Texas A&M Head Coach Jo Evans

Opening statement:
“I thought that our kids came out and played hard and got the lead early and played with great enthusiasm. I was pleased with the way we approached the game knowing that it could be a very long day for us and yet I thought our kids stayed very focused on the task at hand. OU, what I thought they did really great today was they answered every time we scored, they answered right back and scored a lot of runs with two outs and just made it really tough on us. I thought Kelsey Stevens did a nice job today and threw strikes and didn’t give up a lot of free passes. I thought she threw a lot better today than she did the first time that we saw her.”

On the eight seniors:
“It’s a big senior class for us, in fact the biggest senior class I’ve ever had. It’s a great group. They work really hard. They really bought into our program. Very high character. It’s not very often you can carry on an entire class for four years. A class that size, typically you’ll have kids that get worn out or injured or want to focus on school, whatever it may be. These kids just stayed in it for the long haul. I think that says a lot about them and our program and how they feel about our program, wanting to be a part of it. I think they left a great legacy. They will certainly be missed. Six of them started in our lineup, so we have some big holes to fill, some big shoes to fill, but it’s been really fun to coach that group. I enjoyed them very much.”

On OU answering each time Texas A&M scored:
“They just did a really nice job. We would score and we’d get close, and even to get the two-run lead in the first inning, and they just did such a good job of digging in and getting good looks. [Georgia] Casey, who hadn’t really hurt us at all, gets up and crushes a ball. [Lauren] Chamberlain does what Chamberlain does. I just thought that they showed really great resiliency today. I thought they showed good fight and some good maturity about the way they handled it. It’s a team that a lot of those players have won a national championship, so they know what it’s going to take to get to the next level. They understand the task at hand. I thought they were just really focused today. It was challenging. It was tough because in a situation like this where you know it’s going to be a long day and we played a long day yesterday, we need our pitcher to get us off the field. We need to get off the field quickly and get right back in it. There were a couple of innings that just really got extended. I thought that was a challenge for us.”

On facing Oklahoma’s lineup:
“I thought really the bottom of the order made the difference for them today. I felt like they had quality at bats, and I felt like we threw pretty well against them yesterday and then today they just really made solid contact, made adjustments and hit our mistakes. When we made a mistake, they hit it hard, so it’s a potent offense, certainly. Also, they are a big momentum team. I mean everybody is a momentum team, but especially OU. They have a way of stringing some hits together, and a lot of times a big hit, a big homerun, and it speeds the game up. They do a really nice job with that.”

Texas A&M Sophomore Breanna Dozier

On the game and her home run in the seventh inning:
“Like coach said, OU played a really good game. They came out and played hard. I think our seniors tried to leave a legacy. They tried their best, and OU just came out hitting the ball. We tried, but it just didn’t come out the way we wanted it to. At the end of the game, it being one of the last outs, I just wanted to go out there and make contact. I knew Kelsey [Stevens] was throwing strikes, and I think I had had a one-two count. It was inside, so I just turned on it and looked over the fence and there it was. Just making contact.”

On the season overall:
“We had a good season. Coming into offseason, our seniors, it was eight seniors, and they were coming in here wanting to leave a legacy and just teach us how to become leaders and teach us how to come in and do what we had to do and try to go as far as we could. Overall, I think our season was good. Throughout the season, it didn’t go as well as we wanted it to. We had some tough times, but this weekend we knew we had to come out and do our best. I think overall we had a good season.”



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