Quotes and Notes Game 12:
Oklahoma 7, LSU 3

2016 Women's College World Series

2016 WCWS Quotes Game 12 Oklahoma Vs, LSU

Monday, June 6, 2016
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma – 7, LSU – 3

Patty Gasso, Caleigh Clifton, Shay Knighten, Paige Parker

Oklahoma

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with an opening statement from coach.

PATTY GASSO: Intense, stressful, hard working. It was probably one of the hardest fought wins we have had just because of the intensity and knowing what we're facing with a team like LSU.

I shout out to my coaching staff, Melyssa Lombardi was exceptional tonight. As well as JT (Gasso). Really getting these guys prepared for what we were about to face.

The plan was, if we're doing what we do right, we're going to see a multiple amount of pitchers and that was the goal. Let's see how many pitchers they're going to throw out there against us. And we saw all three. That was kind of a victory for us. It's what we were looking for.

So, defense, impeccable. Game-ending double play. I don't even know that we even understand what is happening tomorrow, because we're just playing, and we're playing hard, and they don't stop, they never stop.

I thought Paige just was a warrior tonight. And the idea of us getting a chance to play for a national championship is pretty surreal right now.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please?

Q. Talk about at the third inning when it was tied, Paige on the mound, you bring them into a circle. What do you talk to them to keep them focused and just finish out?

PATTY GASSO: I think just reminding them and talking with Paige, let your defense work for you. One big hit isn't going to be enough. Just get ourselves back in and allow your team to score for you, and we do. We do a good job when someone scores, we — more times than not, will score right back and even the number or better the number. So that's something that's been going on all season. So it's just a reminder. That was really it.

Q. Paige, your team did come back, like coach said, and got you runs. You put up zeros the rest of the night. That helped settle you down or give you more conviction to come back and shut them out the rest of the way?

PAIGE PARKER: Most definitely. Our team does a great job of answering back and that gave me a lot of confidence knowing that they were going to score a lot of runs. So, just going out after that third inning and just making some adjustments and going up from there.

Q. Caleigh, against Alabama in the 8th inning you're down 0-2 in the count, and you come back and get a walk. This game in the third, you're down 0-2, and you get a full count, and you end up an error at second base. Can you talk about what makes you so good in those situations? And do you have any motivation because you got Shay behind you?

CALEIGH CLIFTON: Definitely. I just try to find my way on base, because I know what I have behind me. And I know that just getting on base and passing the torch this offense is going to do something for us. So me getting on base is going to help us, whether it's walk or hit by pitch or just whatever it is, because I know Shay's going to back me up. She's got my back.

Q. What have you seen from Auburn this week and what's your impression? And is there conference pride involved here, your 2-0 this week against the SEC.

PATTY GASSO: I go way back with Coach (Clint) Myers. We coached — I coached at Long Beach City College and he was at Central Arizona, so I've known him and the fantastic job that's done for a long time. So I look forward to it.

Auburn is very well coached, very well balanced. We watched some, but I think most of our concentration was what was right in front of us versus what we hope will be ahead. So we go back to the drawing board tomorrow and do what we have been doing and do a good job of preparation.

PAIGE PARKER: They are very well coached team, and we know it's going to be a battle, and we're just excited to get out there and have a chance to play for a national championship.

SHAY KNIGHTEN: We're going to go out and fight like we always have been. It's another game. We're just going to go out, have each other's backs and just fight until the end, no matter what happens.

CALEIGH CLIFTON: Same. Just going out there and fighting, give it all we got, go pitch by pitch, inning by inning and giving it our all.

Q. Shay, as a southern California kid, I think that you might remember playing with, or against, Auburn's (Kaylee) Carlson and (Carlee) Wallace. If you do, what do you remember about that and what's it going to be like facing off with those girls?

SHAY KNIGHTEN: They're tough competitors. They fight. They're hard fought kids. I think it's going to be a fun game just seeing familiar faces. It's not that it's like a huge game, it's just playing one game at a time. Not trying to over think things and not looking at the players that I know as, like, as an oh my gosh moment. Just playing like it's any other team.

Q. Shay, talk about where you were in your mindset just before you knocked that one out.

SHAY KNIGHTEN: In my mind I was just thinking battle. I had two strikes, I was just thinking find your way on base. A walk, a hit by pitch, a little dinker, something. Just hit the ball hard, put the ball in play. And that paid off.

Q. Caleigh and Shay, at the beginning of the season you guys coming in as freshmen, did you envision playing for a national championship this year? And what's it going to be like to be on that stage playing for a national championship?

CALEIGH CLIFTON: We had hoped for that, like that's something we have always wanted. But it's kind of unbelievable that we are, especially as freshmen. Everyone sees us as underdogs. And since we were freshmen no one thought we would be here. Especially with the team we were last year. But it's kind of crazy. But it works out for us.

SHAY KNIGHTEN: It's one of the things that I think all of us have been dreaming about since we were little. For it to be for like our freshman year, it's just unreal. I don't think it will really become real until I set foot on that field.

It's more of just taking it one game at a time, not trying to over think things, not look at the bigger picture. Just stay with my team.

Q. 30-game win streak, three WCWS finals in six years. Where will this rank as far as your accomplishments at OU?

PATTY GASSO: Quite honestly, I don't know. I don't think about my accomplishments, because they're not mine, they're ours. Every team that's been there has been so different.

So this is just a different, a hard working, competitive, young group that is afraid of nothing. So, it's just what I want to do in this program, to represent OU, just like these guys, we want to represent OU. We want to represent the state. There's a lot of pride in this.

But that's who we are and that's what our expectations are every year. So, to be here is, it's something special, but it's something that we expect from this program.

Q. Over the last couple days you've gotten into some jams here and there against Alabama and Michigan. And some rough spots. Then the same thing happened today. Can you talk to your mindset in those situations and just what you've been doing to consistently get yourself out of those.

PAIGE PARKER: Be tough and battle. I know my defense is behind me, and I know that they're going to make plays. And it's just all about just going out there and fighting and working as hard as I can to keep them off the bases and from scoring. So it's just letting my defense work behind me, because I know that they're fantastic, and they have my back.

Q. What told you that all these pieces, new and old, could fit together in a way that would lead here?

PATTY GASSO: Another answer I don't know.

(Laughter.)

I think it took us a little bit of time to figure out the lineup. If you look at what our lineup looked like at the beginning of the season, it's completely different than it was from then to now. Different people in different positions.

But we just — the chemistry on this team is something that I have not seen in a long time. This group is so enjoyable to be around every day. At practice, on the field, in battle, it's just a joy to be around them. They truly appreciate and respect each other and at practice every day I don't have to bark at them because they work. So, it's just all the pay off. I didn't know how it would — I mean, if you asked me this in February when we had lost four games in the first two weekends, or three weekends, I wouldn't expect this, but perseverance got us here.

Q. You talked all season long about your freshmen because they have been so spectacular for you. But I think now they have got in the post-season six home runs combined, plus what they're doing defensively. At what point, as a coach, do you just kind of sit back and look at them in amazement at what they have been able to accomplish? And how much have you seen them just since the regionals, started kind of improve or change and maybe taking some leadership in this team?

PATTY GASSO: You know, I don't know that I necessarily really refer to them as freshmen because of their maturity and approach at the plate, on the field.

One thing that I do know about this group is they love challenges, and they love competition. So, with that, you've already kind of gotten so far just with that approach. But I think what this group and these freshmen and this team love, we earned this. Our road was tough. We started with Alabama, it was a big rival. Then on to Michigan, top-ranked team here at this tournament. LSU was the best ERA in the country.

So, we did it right, but this group and these freshmen wanted it that way. They wanted that challenge. They embrace it, and they love it. So, I don't know what else to say. They just, they love the stuff.

Q. About the crowd and how much that has helped you guys this week. Being so close to, obviously, Norman and everything and what kind of an advantage that's going to be now that you're in the championship series.

PATTY GASSO: Well, I trust that the Sooner Nation will come out to help us through this, because it's not going to be easy.

But the crowd and the fans and the families have been just on cloud nine with us. We're just having a lot of fun with these guys, and they're so prideful, and I think that's what I love about this is the pride that goes into following this team. And the love and the emotion and seeing their parents crying and seeing all of this is just, sometimes you don't understand what you're doing, how much it affects people. Whether we're wearing bracelets for people, and they get so much joy out of what we do. I think this team does it the right way. So, if we can do that, that's part of the joy is bringing joy to others who watch us.

Q. Just fresh off a few hours after getting eliminated, Michigan's Sierra Romero is up in the stands wearing an OU shirt and obviously pulling for her sister. That was a pretty special thing. What were your thoughts on that and kind of the family kind of thing they have going on?

PATTY GASSO: You know, it was a tough game yesterday. It was. It was tough for — to watch Michigan have to go into the morning game, or noon game. But by the time we got out of here, I mean I felt for them. I talked to Sydney (Romero) a little bit and just said, we got, we have got your sister. We will continue to represent your family here.

So it was just — I don't know if that meant anything to her, but I know her sister is such a big part of her life and anybody that's a big part of Sydney's life is a part of ours. And that's what we wanted to do is just try to — if she couldn't feel this joy, we're going to try to help Sydney feel this joy with her.

So, it's a tough deal, but we respect Michigan, and I don't think Sydney would be the player she is today without Sierra.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you.

Win Some Softball Stuff Show!

LSU

Beth Torina, Sahvanna Jaquish, Sandra Simmons

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with an opening statement from coach.

BETH TORINA: Congratulations to Oklahoma, and we wish them luck. They are a very athletic team and have a lot going for them.

So, I want to say just how much I appreciate this senior class. I think the five seniors that we have had have taken a program with a lot of tradition already and it has a really great history and continued to make it better. I think they set a standard for us that it's going to be really amazing for us to continue to build upon. They have truly changed the culture, and I just feel really lucky to have had these five seniors and been part of their career, but mostly been part of their lives. They're just really special people.

I think everybody that's followed this team understands how special they are. Special players and special human beings, too. So, our team played hard, it was a long, long grueling day.

We have only played four games, we played about 14 games here, it feels like. I thought we gave it all we had and came up short.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Can you explain the early innings when they were slapping and bunting? You guys didn't have a problem early. What happened?

BETH TORINA: With our defense?

Q. Yeah, your defense early on.

BETH TORINA: Our defense has plagued us all season long. I don't think it's anything different. They're very athletic, very fast. I think they exploited something that's been a deficit for us all year. We had trouble making the adjustment.

Q. What was missing from tonight's game that you did in the other games?

BETH TORINA: We couldn't get them out. We gave them opportunities at the plate. I don't know if I didn't call a great game, we didn't pitch a great game.

And on top of making mistakes and turning the lineup over for them way too many times, we just gave them too many opportunities at the plate. Our offense did a good job scoring off of Parker, who is a really talented pitcher. Sahvanna's hit, I would like to say that should be enough for us, but we have got to do a better job attacking their offense.

Q. What do you think about this run in the World Series back-to-back elimination game wins? You guys were a tough out in this World Series.

BETH TORINA: I'm proud of the spot that our team is in. I think that our team would love to be playing again tomorrow. Our team would love to be continuing on. I think that we have got to find a way to just continue to bridge that gap. It's very tough to get here and it's very tough once you're here.

But as a coach, I've got to continue getting better. And I think we were better this time, I think I was better prepared, I think we did some things differently, and I think I was better.

I try to learn something every time we are here. I don't know if all I learned here this time time, playing Oklahoma here, it's like an Oklahoma home game with 10,000 people. I'm just going to find ways to be better.

Q. How are you guys going to remember this season?

SANDRA SIMMONS: I'm going to remember as just a fun, relentless, integrity team. This team came together and fought. There were times where maybe we may not have been as close as we have in the past, but towards the end we ended on the highest note I think we've ever had in my four years.

Just the relationships we have built and how much we have fought and shown for future players and the team for next year that we're never out. That we understand what it takes to win and that we're going to get that moment.

SAHVANNA JAQUISH: I think that we're going to remember the good moments. These five seniors have instilled something in all of us, and they are irreplaceable, but they have given us something that we can take with us next year and that's a lot of fight and just a lot of love for them and good luck in their lives and that's it.

Q. Beth, it seemed that you were shouting something at your batters there in the middle of the game. Is there something you were seeing that they weren't?

BETH TORINA: I was just trying to pull for our hitters.

Q. To the two players: You had a little bad luck in the first inning. You smashed one off the wall and then stumbled at first. And Sahvanna, you hit one pretty hard and it was just off the glove. It seemed like you were pretty close to taking an early lead and playing from ahead, just didn't work out.

SAHVANNA JAQUISH: I think that it does take a little luck sometimes. Sometimes you've got to have that ball that bounces in for you. But like coach always says, you make your own breaks and Oklahoma did a good job of defending us.

SANDRA SIMMONS: I guess like she said, I just think that we hit the ball hard and that's all you can ask. In softball, you can't control the outcome, and we went up there and gave our best shot. We didn't get the outcome we wanted, but we never stopped fighting.

Q. The way the two games played out today, it was kind of a microcosm of the season. You pitched well, hit well in the first game, you win. You don't do as well in the second game and you — I mean, is it that simple? You kind of do the little things and you can beat anybody, and you don't and it's tough to get a win? Does that make sense? As far as the way the day played out today you got the win against Georgia by doing the little things and maybe didn't in this evening's game. Kind of a microcosm of the whole season maybe?

SAHVANNA JAQUISH: The little things are so important. These girls are so talented and if they have just a little mistake, it can just be blown up and I think that that's what happened. I think that we kind of misstepped on the little things a little bit and they capitalized on our mistakes, but it just shows you how competitive it is when you get down to the wire, because we're just so close.

Q. For both of you, back to back Final Fours for you guys. What kind of shape is the program in?

SANDRA SIMMONS: I think it's in good shape. I think we made it back to back years. That's the first time in program history. Did we fall short? Yes. Can we accomplish a national championship? Yes. And I have all the faith in the world that the team next year will do that and I'm just ready to see them compete already by tomorrow, if that was possible.

SAHVANNA JAQUISH: Can you repeat the question?

Q. What kind of shape is the program in?

SAHVANNA JAQUISH: I'm just so proud of how we finished. It's not ideal. We don't want to be third or fourth. We really want to go on to that second game. But I'm just really proud of us. We gave our all and we came up short and that's all you can ask for.

Q. You talked a lot in recent weeks about the fighting Tigers and the way you've come back. When Sahvanna battled through that at bat and hit that home run were you thinking here we go again?

BETH TORINA: Yeah, I never thought we were out of it. I thought we would continue to score off of her and we did continue to hit some things hard. Like we said before, nothing seemed to bounce our way. We did continue to hit some balls hard. They had a double play there at the end. I thought they did fight. I really did. I just think maybe we ran out of gas being as late as it was, long day. We win the first game on I don't know whatever day it was because I don't know what today is but the first game against Michigan and we're in a different spot today. But it is what it is. They gave everything they could and I told them from the day I took over this program, if we can walk out the door and somebody says that we played hard, then we have done our job and there's no doubt in my mind that my team played hard all week long.

Q. Talk about the growth of this squad from the beginning of the season up to now. Especially with the team being as young as it is.

BETH TORINA: Yeah, this team I think has come a long way. We have had our seniors really leading the way for that. I think we definitely had some ups and downs throughout the season. I think a big reason why we're sitting here is because we battled through the low points and we continued to find a way and fight. These guys never quit, they never stopped working, and they battled through a really tough SEC schedule and that's a big reason why we're standing here today. The seniors are walking out, but they're leaving the program in good shape. We had some really great superstar underclassmen who are now going to be upperclassmen and veterans and people like Sahvanna will be pushing us and leading us next year. With her at the helm and the two pitchers that are sophomores going to be returning, they're going to be in good shape.

Q. Talk about the home run. It's obviously a pretty big moment on a stage like that for you. And then also kind of what coach talked about, you with Bianka (Bell) going and some other people going you're going to be kind of the senior leader next year.

SAHVANNA JAQUISH: The home run, I mean it's just an amazing feeling. I think that off the bat, I didn't know it was going to be gone. I got a little luck there, it kept going up. But just the feeling that I got for like seeing my teammates when I came home was just something that's unforgettable. That's just truly who we are and we are one. We are all a team and I think that that's just one of the moments that you'll never get back and I'll always remember that. And what was the second question?

Q. Now that you're a senior as a leader, how will you take that role now?

SAHVANNA JAQUISH: Again, you just can't replace our five seniors, so I'm not trying to replace Bianka Bell or replace Sandi, I'm just going to try to lead the team and as best as I can and I think that I have other juniors and I think that they're such a good leading class and I think that we can all step up together and make this team come back here.

Q. You see kids who are here in Oklahoma City they're not from Louisiana, but they say their favorite team is LSU. What does that say about the LSU softball brand?

BETH TORINA: I think they're fun to watch. I love watching them play. I've been proud to be their coach. I think what we put on the field is fun. They have a good time. I think they play hard. They compete. I think they kind of draw you in. That's the Louisiana culture, friendly, everyone is nice to everybody, and I think our kids treat people that way and they just kind of draw you in. So, I'm proud to be at the helm of this program and I think we're in a good spot and happy that we're making new fans every time we're out and about and I really enjoyed the journey with this group this year.

Before we wrap up, I just want to say thanks for the media that's followed us all year. You guys are awesome. I know how late it is and we just appreciate you guys being with us.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you.

POSTGAME NOTES

Game 12: Oklahoma 7, LSU 3

  • In Game 12 of the 2016 Women’s College World Series, No. 3 Oklahoma defeated No. 10 LSU, 7-3, to close out Session 6. The Sooners improve to 55-7 on the year, while the Tigers end the season at 52-18.
  • The victory marks OU’s 30th consecutive win, a program record (previous best 29 games, 2005). According to the NCAA record book, it is the 19th longest streak all-time and the longest since Florida won 29 in a row in 2009.
  • With the win in WCWS semifinal, Oklahoma advances to its fourth-ever WCWS Championship Series appearance with Game 1 against Auburn slated for Monday at 7 p.m. CT. OU has won two NCAA Championships (2000, ’13) in program history. The loss eliminates the Tigers from the 2016 WCWS, after making their fourth-ever semifinal appearance (2001, ’04, ’15, ‘16).
  • Oklahoma improves to 20-14 in its 10th WCWS appearance (2000, ’01, ’02, ’03, ’04, ’11, ’12, ’13, ’14, ’16) while LSU falls to 10-10 all-time in its fifth appearance (2001, ’04, ’12, ’15, ‘16). The meeting between the Sooners and the Tigers was the third matchup between the two programs in the postseason and the second in the WCWS. OU previously fell to LSU and in the 2001 WCWS (2-1 in 13 innings).
  • Freshman Shay Knighten led the way for the Sooners, going 2-for- 4 with two RBI and a run scored. The freshman also hit her team-best 13th home run, and second of the WCWS. Knighten also recorded her team-high 61st RBI of the season and her 18th multi-RBI game.
  • Oklahoma’s Erin Miller was 2-for- 5 including two RBI. The senior has 28th multi-hit games this season and 52nd on her career, both of which are team highs. Additionally, Miller turned out her 16th multi-RBI game of the season and 39th of her career tonight.
  • In the bottom of the third, LSU knotted up the score with a three-run home run Sahvanna Jaquish. The junior’s 13th homer of the year scored Sandra Simmons and Emily Griggs.
  • Dating back to 2015, Oklahoma sophomore pitcher Paige Parker has tossed every inning in the circle for the Sooners during postseason play (95.0 IP). During the 2016 NCAA Tournament, Parker has amassed an 8-0 record, including three wins at the WCWS. With the victory, Parker improves to 36-3 on the season with a 1.65 ERA. She has won 26 straight appearances for the Sooners.
  • In her first-ever WCWS appearance, LSU freshman pitcher Sydney Smith takes the loss. The freshman falls to 13-4 after giving up three earned runs to break the tie during a fourth-inning relief appearance (1.0 IP).
  • The Sooners tallied 10 hits in the victory, while LSU recorded eight. Oklahoma improves to 50-3 when out-hitting its opponent.
  • OU has now outscored its opponents across those three frames combined, 176-58.
  • The attendance for session six was 8,828.
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Quotes and Notes Game 11:
Auburn 8, Florida State 7

2016 Women's College World Series

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2016 WCWS Quotes Game 11 Auburn Vs Florida State

Sunday, June 5, 2016
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Auburn – 8, Florida State – 7

Auburn

Clint Myers, Carlee Wallace, Jade Rhodes, Madi Gipson, Kaylee Carlson, Kasey Cooper

THE MODERATOR: Good evening. At this time we have Auburn University on the dais. Coach, we'll start with general comments about the game.

CLINT MYERS: I couldn't be prouder of a bunch of ladies that sit to the right and ones that are not here. They did a phenomenal job. It wasn't as pretty as we would have liked. It wasn't as easy as we would have liked. But I think you saw the fight. I think you saw the heart. They beat a very talented, very good Florida State team with great talent and great coaching. I am extremely proud of the Auburn softball team, and I think I'll stop there.

Q. Kasey, I think this game is going to be remembered for the home runs and the game- winning at-bat there at the end. Your bare-hand play to save a run in the first inning, Victoria's (Draper) diving catch, that's really what almost saved the game for you guys.

KASEY COOPER: What was your question?

Q. How important were those plays, the bare- handed play and the diving catch?
KASEY COOPER: That's what Auburn softball is, and you know, we make the good plays and the great plays come along. Playing Auburn softball, we expect you to make the routine plays, and the great plays will come. That's what our coaches live by, and they knew that when she dove for the ball that Tiffany (Howard) would be right behind her if she didn't catch it. Right when she came up, she said, guys, I got that one. We were so proud of her, and we're definitely pulling for that No. 1 on SC Top 10 right there.

Q. Can you kind of take us through what's going through your head when you're running those bases in the eighth?

MADI GIPSON: I wasn't stopping. Coach earlier in the year stopped me on a triple, and I wasn't stopping this time.

CLINT MYERS: I wasn't stopping her.

Q. Clint, when you took this job three years ago, did you have any idea at that time that this level of success would be possible this quickly?

CLINT MYERS: I'm looking for a humble way to answer that question, because the answer is yes. The answer is yes. I believed in the people I work with, that if they buy in, which we've proven that they have, and if they work and commit, great things happen. I mean, we've still got softball to play, but having the opportunity to play for a national championship is something that we've talked about since we got there, and again, it's them buying in. It's them buying into the hard work and to the commitment of practice and weight room and everything else.

Yes.

Q. Coach, staying with that topic, what was the one basic thing that you saw when you took the job? Was it recruiting, facility, players that were already there, individual conversations once you got on campus?

CLINT MYERS: No, I can answer that pretty easy. I found a bunch of young women that really wanted to win, and they really wanted to learn, and they were willing to do anything. As soon as we got their trust, they would run through a brick wall. I mean, Madi said it. She wasn't stopping. She knew she could make a triple. I wasn't stopping her because she was looking fast. Again, it is a team game. You look at what happened, Kaylee started and finished and won, and we had a little freshman, her first time in the College World Series, they wanted to win. They still want to win. There's still work that hasn't been completed.

Like I said, they're great young women that have a mission.

Q. Carlee, you probably had the best view of Vic's catch being at home. I think it was obvious that she was going to lay out for it. What was going through your mind just watching that play unfold there?

CARLEE WALLACE: Well, when I saw it go off the bat, I thought, this is going to do some damage. I was kind of thinking, oh, no, and she's like a golden retriever out there. It's ridiculous. You throw a ball, and she's like, ball, ball, and then she goes and gets the ball. Would you not agree?

She is just a — I swear, she tracks everything down, so to be honest with you, I really wasn't that surprised she caught it, because she's just that fast, and she makes me look like a snail. No, I had no doubt in my mind that she was going to catch that ball, no way, and then if she didn't, Tiff was literally two steps behind her ready to pick it up and throw somebody out. Honestly it was kind of routine for us because if you saw her at practice, she's doing the same junk at practice, laying out for things, like man, you're going to hurt yourself. She did an awesome job, and from my view, it was really pretty.

Q. Kasey and Jade, Jessica Burroughs of Florida State has been almost unhittable throughout most of the World Series and you both hit home runs off of her. I think your home run is still sailing somewhere. What were you seeing out from Burroughs today?

JADE RHODES: To be honest, I was just trying to hit the ball. You know, Corey (Myers) is behind me saying stay in my legs, stay in my legs because that's the strongest thing on my body, so the minute I heard him say that, I was just kind of sink down in a squat and don't use my upper body at all. Just kind of use my legs.

She's a great pitcher. She faced one of the best teams yesterday, and I mean, she dominated. Coming in, we had — we know we had to hit and see the ball and kind of just lay off the stuff that she's been getting people out with all year, and I think me and Cooper and the whole rest of our lineup did a great job with that.

KASEY COOPER: Well, when I got up, Vic and Tiff both had put the ball in play on the first pitch, and the defense made great plays, so unless I was going to do a Cardinal sin of softball, my automatic first pitch was a take. My first two at-bats, I didn't get my hips square so my body wasn't completely back to center, and my goal was to stay a little bit higher. Jade's goal is to get lower and mine was to stay a little bit higher on the backside. And it worked out for us. There's a reason Jessica Burroughs is an All-American, and she pitched a great game, and she had a great career.

Q. Kaylee, you were out there for Kasey's great defensive play but you weren't for Vic's play. As a pitcher what's it like to see your girls going all out for an out?

KAYLEE CARLSON: It means a lot. It was a dogfight out there and having them make plays and get our backs all game, that's what we do and that's what we preach, so it was nice.

Q. Coach, I wanted to ask you about (Rachael) Walters. Sticking with her in the seventh, what was the thought process because after you give up a three-run homer like that, momentum shifts, what made you stick with her?

CLINT MYERS: They didn't score anymore. They just made it a little bit more exciting. No, there were some thoughts that were going on. Corey handles the pitchers. We talked about that, and I trust him. He had a plan, and he knew what he was doing. But again, it just kind of goes back to what we've talked about all along. It's having a plan, going out and staying with your plan, even through adversity, and making things happen. And trusting the people that are out there. Just trusting them. I mean, it's a win-or-lose situation, and we made the switch the next inning. Kaylee came in, we got the three outs, and the game is over. It's the trust and the plan that Corey has.

Q. Kaylee, if you could just talk about your performance today, obviously kind of a rocky start there but coming back in at the end and getting it done.

KAYLEE CARLSON: Like, he had said, I started out pretty not so good and then having Mad(i) Gipson come in and shut it down, that's kind of key and then when she struggled, Rachael came in and shut it down. And when she struggled I knew that I had to go in there and fight for them like they fought for me, so I was just putting it out there and playing for them and then of course our team was getting our back every inning and scoring runs and keeping us in the game, so I was just trying to do that for them.

Q. Carlee, you had a big day at-bat on this day a year ago, too, the same point in the tournament. Just talk about your home run which really came at a pretty big time.

CARLEE WALLACE: Basically I had had enough. I'm being real. I had had enough. I had probably — it was a great team win yesterday and I had no reason to hang my head yesterday, but personally being real with myself, that might have been one of the worst offensive days I have had in a while.

So I kind of just regrouped, and I just — I was like, forget this, I'm just going to go up there and get my hacks in, which usually about this time last year when I did that last year, and this time of year, I don't know, I just don't really have much of a choice. So I don't know, I went up there and I knew that she — from film from last year I knew that they were going to work me outside because I popped up every pitch outside when we played them at home, so I knew I had to stay on top of the ball and keep my palm up like Coach says all the time, and it ended up working out for me today.

Q. Coach, Walters retired Alex Powers with the based loaded two straight innings. What does that say about her character and how big were those two innings?

CLINT MYERS: Well, again, you're talking about a team full of characters, and I don't mean that as a pun or anything funny, but they were phenomenal. I mean, the fight in all of them, the never quit, go out there and do your best. When you look in the mirror tomorrow, you've got to like what you see looking back at you, and they did that today. I mean, it's a game in which there's going to be a winner and loser, but if you go out there and give it your best and you train to do that each and every day, that's what they did today. They trained hard and came out on top because of the way they played and the way they fought.

Q. Jade, when the coaches came in a couple years ago, I know one of the first things they said to you is that you guys were going to go to the World Series and you guys were going to win a World Series, and I know some of you kind of chuckled, like okay, you Arizona crazies. Now that you're here and you're two wins away, has it hit yet, reflecting back to that day when they said those words to you guys?

JADE RHODES: It hits me every now and then because I have people come up to me and say that, you know, you've only got three more days of playing softball in college. I go back in my room, shed some tears so no one can see me because I hate crying. I think last year when we made it is when we all bought in. I mean, the freshmen that came in when he got here, they automatically bought in because that's all they knew. So when I first came here to the College World Series last year is when I really bought in, and now to see that we're actually going and playing three more days, like we said last year, is pretty awesome.

Q. Coach, I know this is still a long way off for them, but just in case because I don't think we'll get you guys pregame before the World Series final, if it does happen to end up being LSU, your thoughts on the SEC Tournament championship game turning into the National Championship Series, and what are your thoughts on LSU and the job Beth has done?

CLINT MYERS: Well, I think it would be pretty awesome personally. I mean, the idea of having an all- SEC World Series championship, you know, we're on record as saying that the SEC is the toughest conference. We had four teams here this year. We had five here last year. You always pull for the teams in your conference. You know, they know us, we know them. It would be great softball, regardless. But it would really say a lot about our conference if we could — if LSU can take two from Oklahoma.

Q. And the job Beth (Torina) has done?

CLINT MYERS: Oh, I mean, you know, the whole conference, and Beth is one of many great coaches in here that have really done a magnificent job within the conference. You know, she has had a great year and their team has had a great year, and I hope they win tonight.

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Florida State

Lonni Alameda, Cali Harrod, Jessica Burroughs, Alex Powers

LONNI ALAMEDA: Yeah, I'd first like to thank the NCAA for always moving this event forward, and I think there's so much more room to grow for fastpitch softball and it's awesome to see the crowds here and the Hall of Fame Stadium here and the ASA and everything they do for it. This is where the dreams of little softball players want to be, and we got that experience. I'm just so grateful for everyone putting their time and effort into making this experience for us.

As for our program, I don't think we could be more proud of the steps we've taken for Florida State softball. This is the team 33, and they've really taken the legacy a step further. We just talk about the process, and you couldn't be more proud of the fight they had from Game 1, how much we've learned, to today just leaving it all out there.

The people to my right were outstanding in that, but it was a full team effort. Every single person in the dugout made a huge effort for this team to give everything they had. It's an L, but it's truly a win for us because we are a better program and we're going to move forward and be stronger.

Q. Cali, after you hit that three-run homer, what's going through your mind? Are you thinking,”We've got the momentum take this game?”

CALI HARROD: Yeah, I was pretty excited but I was just happy I could come through for the team and just give us that momentum going out into the field into the next at-bats. It was just really awesome coming into the dugout and my teammates were so excited for me, and like Coach said about the process and just taking it one pitch at a time, so really what was going through my head was just, OK, next pitch.

Q. Coach, just talk about Jessica; to pitch a complete game and put her right back out there and for her to do — I know she gave up the home run but to keep persevering?

LONNI ALAMEDA: Yeah, J.B. had an outstanding day. She's been so consistent for us, not only pitching wise, but as a leader for us, too. Her tutelage for Meghan King has really grown a one-two punch for us and I think that's something I'm very lucky as a pitching coach to have, just the pride they have of the bullpen. We really got something today. She's always been confident, but we had the up-down, we had the changeup, she was confident with throwing it, and it showed up, and I couldn't be more proud of her. But I think she's proud of herself, too, because we put a lot of work into that, and that comes out for your players to have that and see that. You kind of get that proud mom moment, and she was pretty outstanding today for us.

Q. Jessica, I know it's still really raw, but can you look back over the season and think, hey, we really did something with such a young group?

JESSICA BURROUGHS: Yes, I can. I just think this team is just — they just kept fighting until the end. They just gave everything they had, starting in the fall. Everyone took what this program is all about and just went with it. The freshmen came in, they learned quickly and a lot of them have made an impact, all of them is made an impact on this program and we'll continue to grow. Next year we're going to come back even stronger and more experienced, but I just think — I don't even know. This year has been the funnest I've had, and I'm looking forward to next season, and it's kind of a little bittersweet ending how it did, but we fought, and we just kept pushing through, and I couldn't be more proud of this team.

Q. Coach, if you can, just talk about the chip-away effect, you score one in the first, then the second. You get two runs, now it's tied up, now it's just like, keep the focus and work your way through.

LONNI ALAMEDA: Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, UCLA taught us a little bit, the grand slam, and we've been here before, right, we can keep chipping away. We knew we could swing the bats against Auburn's pitching. We knew that, and we knew that their hitting was going to be tough. I mean, they swing it and they've been great all season, and they put together a good ballgame. It was just a matter of one-pitch mentality. We grew up so much here at the World Series as a team, and we talked that process all season long, and we believed it. We believed it. We found out that's what you have to do when you get here. It's the biggest stage, you've got to trust the process and you've got to trust your teammates, and it showed up for that fight mentality for us in the last couple games.

Q. Coach, to start the season you said you're just looking for growth. Anything else is just gravy. Does this season — are you already looking forward to what you're going to have next season? Are you already chomping at the bit waiting for 2017?

LONNI ALAMEDA: Yeah, you know what, I think right now is a time to reflect on our current season. You know, it's a long journey. You start really over the summer, you start thinking about the next season, and then when you come together in September you are grinding it out to be here. Like the dream of any college softball player is to be here. But we've got to go take some time right now and enjoy this team and everything that we did and then come September we'll be ready to go and get after it for next year. It's tough to get here. It's tough to get here. It's not going to be a cake walk. I know we have the majority of our team returning and the experience, but we're going to have a lot of things to prove to ourselves, and we want to be back here. We're going to push our tails every day to get back here.

Q. Alex, you were one of the most consistent players here at the World Series. What was it like for you watching players like Cali, players like Sydney really come alive toward the end and make an impact for this team?

ALEX POWERS: I mean, I get more excited for them than I do for myself because I think when you can be selfless and have that much excitement for each other, I think that's what's going to change the ballgame. When Cali hit that home run, I think I was the first person like running out of the dugout. I mean, just such joy you feel for your teammates, and I think that's one of the most important things about being a team and being successful is being able to know that if you don't get the opportunity or if you do and you fail that other people will get the opportunity and that hopefully they succeed, and that's the best feeling of fulfillment.

Q. Coach, have you gotten a chance to look at the replay of the play at the plate at the end, and how close was it?

LONNI ALAMEDA: I have not looked at it. I think the throw was high. I think if the throw was on line, but (Jessica) Warren did a Superwoman spin around throw which she does a ton, so I think she was safe as much as in my mind I wanted her to be out, but it wasn't there. We had our chances. We had the right people up with the bases loaded. We had our chances, and that's the game. If you can just leave it all out there — I think in the third or fourth inning we brought the team together, I went out in the circle and I said, it's a dogfight right now and it's been an emotional day. It's been a long, emotional day. We had a great win this morning. Just give every ounce of what you have right now, and the team perked up, and they did it. They were awesome and the coaches brought them together about the hitting, same mentality, just give everything you have, and they fought, fought, fought.

Tip your hat to Auburn. They're a great ballclub. They've done a great job there, and it's just fun to play a competitive game like that. Of course you want to come out on the winning side, but it is so fun to be in those moments, and that's what you train for.

Q. Coach, when Morgan (Klaevemann) had two on and she hit that ball to the left-field gap, (Victoria) Draper made that critical catch, it looked like it robbed what could have been a two-RBI double.

LONNI ALAMEDA: Yeah, it did rob a two-RBI double. That's it. That's this level. Again, like you know, there were so many great plays, it had to be good softball TV. It was just outstanding back and forth. I think Uncle Mo was running to one dugout and running to another. He was going back and forth and we couldn't really grasp it. That's what it's all about. Sometimes you applaud other players, too. You are cheering for your team but you just want a really good game and you just want to fight. It was outstanding — I'm sure a top-10 play.

POSTGAME NOTES

Game 11: Auburn 8, Florida State 7 (8 innings)

  • In Game 11 of the 2016 Women’s College World Series, No. 4 Auburn defeated No. 8 Florida State, 8-7, in eight innings, to open Session 6. The Tigers improve to 57-10 on the year, while the Seminoles end the season at 55-10. Auburn’s win sets the program record for victories in a single season.
  • With the win in today’s semifinal, Auburn advances to its first-ever WCWS Championship Series appearance with Game 1’s date, time and opponent (Oklahoma/LSU) TBD. The loss by Florida State eliminates the Seminoles from the 2016 WCWS after making their second-ever semifinal appearance (2002).
  • Auburn improves to 5-2 in its second WCWS appearance (2015, ‘16) while Florida State falls to 8-18 all-time in its ninth appearance (1987, ’90, ’91, ’92, ’93, ’02, ’04, ’14, ’16). Today’s meeting between the Tigers and the Seminoles was the first between the two programs at the WCWS. FSU and Auburn met twice during the 2016 regular season, splitting both contests.
  • Florida State took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first by way of an Alex Powers one-out RBI double to left center. Jessica Warren scored from first after reaching via a hit-by- pitch. During the NCAA Tournament, Warren scored a team-best 10 runs, while Powers has hit a team-high five doubles.
  • Auburn answered in the bottom of the first, taking a 3-1 lead after a Carlee Wallace three-run home run to right center. Tiffany Howard and Emily Carosone scored after a leadoff single and a walk, respectively. The home run was Wallace’s fifth of the season and first of the postseason.
  • In the top of the second, Florida State plated two runs to tie the game at 3-3. After reaching on an Auburn fielding error, Carsyn Gordon scored from second as a result of a Morgan Klaevemann two-out RBI triple to left center. In the following at bat, Jessica Warren’s RBI single to right field scored Klaevemann, extending her current hitting streak to a team-best 14th consecutive game.
  • Florida State regained a 4-3 lead in the top of the third via a Gordon one-out RBI single through the right side. Cali Harrod scored after reaching on a walk, stealing second and reaching third on a throwing error by Auburn. Senior Jessica Burroughs entered the contest in relief for the Seminoles with runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the third. Auburn’s Jade Rhodes sent a towering three-run home run down the left field line, snapping Burroughs’ scoreless streak of 13.1 innings pitched and giving Auburn a 6-4 lead. Burroughs allowed three hits and two runs out of the bullpen.
  • Florida State starter Meghan King picked up the loss, giving up five hits and six runs (five earned) while walking three. The freshman threw the first four innings and then returned to the game in the top of eighth.
  • Kasey Cooper extended the Auburn lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out home run to right field. The solo shot was Cooper’s 20th home run of 2016, an Auburn single-season school record (2014 –
  • A three-run home run by Florida State’s Harrod, with no outs in the top of the seventh, tied the game up at 7-7 in the Seminole’s final at bat. In today’s contest, the two teams combined for four total home runs, just the 12th time in WCWS that two teams combined to hit four or more home runs in a single game.
  • In the bottom of the eighth, Madi Gipson singled to left field, but a two-base error by Florida State left fielder Alex Kossoff advanced Gibson to third base. Auburn’s Whitney Jordan sent a ground ball to third base, which allowed pinch-runner Morgan Podany to slide under the tag at the plate for the game-winning run. The win marked the second walk-off victory for the Tigers in 2016.
  • Auburn’s Kaylee Carlson improved to 19-2 this year, throwing 3.1 innings of relief to get the win. The sophomore allowed four hits and three runs (one earned) while striking out five. Carlson’s 19th victory set a career high for wins in a single season (earned 18 victories at North Carolina in 2015).
  • Seven of Auburn’s eight runs in today’s contest came by way of the long ball as the Tigers hit three home runs as a team. The three home runs are the most by a team since Kentucky hit three against Baylor in 2014 and just one shy of the WCWS single-game record,
  • After scoring three in the bottom of the opening frame in Sunday’s victory, Auburn has now scored in the first inning of each of its three WCWS games. The Tigers, who have outscored opponents 126-25 in the opening frame, improve to 34-4 this season when scoring in their first at bat.
  • Today’s contest went eight innings, the second extra-inning game of this year’s event and 94th all-time in WCWS. This marks the second-consecutive WCWS with two or more games decided in extras. Auburn improves to 4-1 and Florida State falls to 0-2 in extra-inning contests this season.

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