NCAA Softball Super Regional
Tennessee at Oklahoma, Game 1
May 23, 2014

Oklahoma Head Coach Patty Gasso
Opening Statement:
“I thought we came out well. We scored early and set a nice tone. I thought we had good energy. I thought Kelsey [Stevens] really started strong and she finished strong. That is a very tough offense. You can see it in the way they swing. They do not get cheated. After the rain delay it seemed like they became a little more aggressive and a little more in tune with what was going on. Our offense continues to answer anytime someone puts something up on us. I love that fact. You can feel the energy tonight was a little smothering, at least that is what I felt. Defense played well. Pitching was on point and the offense was pretty hot from top to bottom. I am very pleased with the outcome and the effort tonight.”

On the team’s offensive performance:
“Ellen [Renfroe] is a phenomenal pitcher. I don’t know that she had her best stuff tonight. There were a lot of balls thrown. I think we did a good job of staying disciplined and waiting for that pitch to show up. When it did, we hit it hard. We did a good job of making her throw a lot of pitches. I thought the game plan was executed well. What I was really pleased with tonight was just the execution. We had bunts laid down properly, putting runners in scoring position, getting those RBI. Early in the game Callie Parsons opens with a double, Javen [Henson] lays down a bunt and our nine-hole Erin [Miller] hits a shot to center for the RBI. It is those little things that we need to do right. Those are the fundamentals of the game and I thought they played fundamental softball tonight.”

On how important it was to get out of the fourth:
“It was inches. That ball that went off the right field wall—and Brittany Williams made a great play to get the ball in quickly—was inches from going over. We have been on the other side of that where it has worked against us, as well. That is the beauty of this game. It can go one way or the other. Fortunately it stayed in the park or this could have been a different looking game. We were lucky to get that working our way.”

On the performance of Kelsey Stevens:
“Outstanding. We’ve been waiting to see that loose, competitive spirit back on the mound. I think she just got locked in. She took last weekend exactly how I thought she would. She took that last weekend and said, ‘I am better than this and my team is going to score runs so it’s all going to be ok.' She threw really well. This is an explosive Tennessee offense; to shut them down to one run is a huge triumph for any pitcher. I was very pleased with her.”

On if Steven was throwing harder than usual tonight:
“I don’t think so. I felt like she was just a little more efficient and she had good movement going on. She had a good mix going on.”

Oklahoma Pitcher Kelsey Stevens

On her performance tonight:
“Yeah, I just felt really loose. I was hitting my spots well, and the energy was just great. I got a lot of momentum from the fans and from my teammates, as well, when they were hitting great. It just felt good all around.”

On how important it was to get out of the fourth inning:
“It was big. Like Coach said, they came out with a different attitude and they were very aggressive. They got a run but it was more important to just stop the momentum from there and I think that just got our team going even more. We wanted to answer that and get it back.”

Oklahoma Infielder Lauren Chamberlain

On the team’s offensive performance:
“I think it was important to bring our knowledge back in the dugout and communicate the whole game—what was working for her and what was not. Yes, I feel like our hitting was contagious tonight. Top to bottom, like Coach said, it was working for us.”

On how the team handled the rain delay:
“We stayed pretty loose. We stayed focused, though. We got some food and got some energy and we were ready to get back out there. We were impatient a little bit. We wanted to play.”

Tennessee Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly
Opening Statement:

“Well I’ve been here a lot of years, not in this room, but I’ve been in Super Regionals a lot of years and that was a game that was one of the toughest we’ve ever had. Most of that is due to Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a very good team and very well coached. But you can’t give up 10 hits and four errors and walk four batters and be successful. The credit goes to Oklahoma for the game. It’s like the first and third play that happened there, we scouted that. We knew that they would fake bunt; we should have known that [Lauren] Chamberlain’s not going to bunt in that situation. I had gone out to the mound and told our second baseman, ‘You got the cut,’ but she’s a freshman and as soon as they scored around, she broke for first and made us look like we had never run it before. But I’m proud of our kids. They didn’t just waltz into the Sweet 16; we just got beaten tonight by a team that played better than us.”

On Kelsey Stevens’ performance:
“I saw a very good pitcher. I mean, the kid’s not 35-7 for nothing. I know a lot of people will tell you that when you’re scouting Oklahoma, with that offense, it’s easy to be 35-7—listen; you can look at the books. When the SEC season ended, in SEC play, we led the league in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. We just didn’t get it done tonight; we just didn’t get it done. A lot of that credit is to Stevens and a lot of the credit goes to Patty Gasso and her staff and a fantastic game plan and just a great night for them and a great night for Stevens.”

On the rain delay:
“Actually, I thought the rain delay gave us a chance to get re-acclimated. I told our kids when we come back out if we could get the batter who had a 2-2 count with two on, we’d have a shot to get something done and then we came out and got a 2-1 score and got a runner to third and had three chances to get that runner home and we couldn’t get her home. This is cyclical, I mean look what happened to Florida State. They get beat 17-3 and came back today and swept Michigan. I am not predicting or saying that that’s going to happen. I’m just saying, we’re still in it until they win the second game. They’re a very tough team so hopefully things will break a little better and we’ll make a little better break tomorrow.”

On the fourth inning:
“We just didn’t hit the ball as well as we’re capable of hitting it tonight and that inning was critical, but I think the fifth inning where they score all of their runs—we don’t dive for a ball at second base, we drop a ball at first base, again, you don’t do that against a team like Oklahoma. I know my wife was saying—how many of those runs were earned—three. So we just kind of shot ourselves in the foot and that’s a shame because they’re capable of shooting us in the foot themselves; they’ve got that good of a team. Whatever happened, it’s water over the dam now. We just have to come out prepared and try to play as well as we can tomorrow against a team that is very, very good.”

On the offensive adjustments following the rain delay:
“Well we just talked about trying to be more aggressive with the pitch and figuring out the jumps [Stevens] had on the ball. The thing about her and what has made her good is that you may figure out the jump one inning and the next inning she throws a different kind of pitch. I think the rest broke their momentum and put us in a position where we could have been more competitive and we just didn’t take advantage of it.”

Tennessee Infielder Madison Shipman

On how Kelsey Stevens gave Tennessee trouble:
“She had some late jump, like some late up on the ball and we just kept getting our bats underneath it instead of getting on top of it and making adjustments.”

On adjusting for Stevens tomorrow:
“Today, everything that could have gone wrong; did go wrong for us. We just have to flush it out of our systems and get back at it tomorrow.”