Quotes from practice day.
May 15, 2008
NCAA Norman Softball Regional
OU Softball Complex
Arkansas Head Coach Jamie Pinkerton
On the first round matchup:
"Our first round match-up is against a good Tulsa ball club out of Conference USA. We are familiar with them in that we have played them during the fall. At this point in time, when you've played somebody you know what to expect. We just have to come out and hit, pitch and play defense.
On the regional field:
I think the regional as a whole is a very good regional. Obviously, you have the No. 10 seed in Oklahoma, us, Tulsa and Oregon. Other than Oklahoma being the No. 10 seed, the RPI's match up pretty well. The two through four seeds are all pretty evenly matched and I think it's going to be a pretty competitive regional. We're obviously excited. It's the first appearance for Arkansas in a regional since 2002. I think the ladies are excited to play. We've done a lot of things this year to be successful and I think the main thing to be successful in this particular setting, with it obviously going to be a great atmosphere, we just have to go out and stay within ourselves and do what we're capable of doing. We've played here before and I know what it's like in a regional from being a regional host. I think we just have to stay within ourselves and play our ball.
Arkansas Senior Infielder Dayna Huckabee
On the first-game matchup:
"Going against Tulsa, I think we're going to be a little more relaxed, since we have played them before. We know their level of competition, how we need to play to beat them. We're feeling pretty confident. Playing a team we've already played before helps a whole lot. Being our first regional and being nervous already, we like playing a team we have faced before."
On personal and team goals: "Personally, I just want to do whatever it takes to help our team win. Whether it's making a play on defense or getting a timely hit, just doing whatever I can do to help our team win. Team goals, we just want to win this first game and not jump ahead of ourselves and shoot for the whole regional, but of course that is always a goal of ours. We'll take it one game at a time and hopefully walk out of here and go to Arizona for a Super Regional."
Tulsa Head Coach John Bargfeldt
On the matchup:
"We're excited to be here at a regional, with this being the first time to receive an at-large bid. With our match-up against Arkansas, we had a game over there at their place earlier this year. It's an opponent we are familiar with and we know that whomever comes out and plays the best is the one that will be in the winner's circle. We're just concentrating on that opponent and coming out and giving our best "A" game."
On the game: "At this stage, the game is broken down into three phases. How well you hit, how well you pitch and how well you defend. Sometimes your game breaks down in one of those three and hopefully another part can pick it up. We'll have to play our best in all three phases of the game."
On facing Arkansas for a second time:
"I think it certainly helps from a familiarity aspect in that we aren't travelling half way across the country to play some unknown team. At the same time, we have a great deal of respect for the Arkansas program and look forward to a great game."
Senior First Baseman Sara Dyer
On the team goals:
"Our season goal was to make it to where we are at right here, getting a bid to a regional, so we have accomplished that goal. Now a big goal as a team is to get our first win in regional action. So, our first postseason win is our goal. Personally I just want to go out and stay positive for our team. Keep them fired up, go get a couple of hits."
Oklahoma Head Coach Patty Gasso
On the team's mindset:
"They are ready to play. I thought we came into the Big 12 Tournament ready to play, but it wasn't one of our best games. I think you'll see things much sharper. A little more relaxed, yet very tuned in. I'm anxious for them to get out on the field, they are ready to go."
On there being extra motivation to beat a team they lost to in the regular season:
"It is. We're a different team than when we faced all three of them. We faced them all in different circumstances. Now we are rested, ready and a lot is at stake. With that being said, I expect to see our best out there and when we throw our best out there we are tough to beat."
On the Oregon squad now compared to the regular season match-up:
"I think they are much more battle ready. They go through such a tough Pac-10 Conference. Every day is a tough day for them. So they know adversity and what good pitching looks like since they see it day in and day out. They are not new to this situation at all. Their coaching staff is outstanding and has been here before, so they are going to bring their "A" game as well."
Oklahoma Junior Pitcher D.J. Mathis
On rebounding from the Big 12 Championship loss:
"I think it has motivated us to get better. Now it's do or die."
On returning to full strength:
"I was working through an injury last year and it's just been nice to be able to throw without any pain. We've had a lot of rest the past couple of weeks, unfortunately some of that was unwanted, but it has been kind of nice."
On avenging regular season losses to the other squads in the regional:
"We know we weren't at our best when we lost earlier in the season to all three of the teams. It should be a lot different outcome this time around."
On the home crowd:
"It makes a huge difference. It is so much fun being able to stay at home and play in front of our fans."
Oregon Head Coach Kathy Arendsen
"We're happy to be here. We're going to go out here and play our best. We know Oklahoma's a great team and we had a great match-up early, early in the season but I don't know if that counts for much of anything. This, it counts for everything. We're going to come out and play our best, we're excited to be here."
On beating Oklahoma in the regular season:
"I don't about any of that stuff. It's 0-0 right now, we're the underdogs and have everything to gain. We're playing Goliath and we'll get ready for them."
On the Oklahoma weather affecting their play:
"No, we play in the wind in Oregon and actually we're grateful (for the current weather). A couple of years ago when we were here it was 106 degrees and record-setting heat and humidity, so this is great. We love being in Norman in this kind of weather."
On making the long trip to Norman:
"I think we are going to be the orphans or something because I think everyone else is expecting a big crowd because they are within driving distance. We're kind of used to playing in some tough stadiums in the Pac-10. I think our place is difficult to play in and I think that's part of the fun of being a ballplayer. We were here before and the Oklahoma fans are very knowledgeable, they are very fair. They cheer for their Sooners but they also appreciate good play by the opponent, so we are looking forward to playing in front of them."
On the difference between tomorrow's match-up and the regular-season game:
"I think both teams have changed dramatically. We start a lot of freshman, they're a little more experienced, hopefully like sophomores. That was a well-matched game that could have gone either way. It wasn't a dominating performance for either team. So do you gain anything off of it? Not really. We got a little film, they got a little film, that's probably the best we could do with it."
Oregon Senior Pitcher Alicia Cook
On the regular-season game against Oklahoma:
"It wasn't an easy game to win, it was definitely a battle back and forth. There were some really great defensive plays, where a couple of home-runs that could have been gone , outfielders caught at the fence. It was back-and-forth the whole game and it was awesome to come out on top and hopefully we can repeat that."
On benefitting from the regular-season win:
"We're trying not to think about the last game and just focusing on tomorrow. Each batter, one at a time. Each pitch, one at a time. Just focusing on the game tomorrow and not worrying about the past."
On the Oklahoma hitters:
"I know they are good. There are some big girls, some great hitters. I'm going to have to work hard to pitch around them. Stay ahead in the counts, get them early and make them chase."
On playing in front of the OU crowd:
"We're used to it. In the Pac-10 we go to a lot of big school's that have these kind of crowds, so it's not going to be a big deal."