Florida Championship Series Game 1 Press Conference
2017 Women's College World Series
Monday June 5, 2017
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma – 7, Florida – 5
Florida interview with Tim Walton, Delanie Gourley, Kelly Barnhill, Sophia Reynoso, and Amanda Lorenz.
TIM WALTON: Good game. Obviously we're not very happy to be up here right now as the other side of that, but we had a very good game. Two good teams, obviously fought very hard tonight. Just obviously the clutch hitting, they got a couple more than we did. But told my team in about the — I don't know if it was the eighth or the 21st, whatever inning it was, I told them great job, proud of you guys. Two outs, two strikes, boom, came back. Two outs, two strikes, and whatever the next inning was, came back. So just really proud of our team, really proud of the effort, really proud of the energy. Had some kids step up and do some things they haven't been asked to do before, and this is the first time I've seen the box score so that's why it took me so long, but 26 strikeouts, it's crazy to lose. Just tells you just what a crazy game this is.
Yeah, again, proud of my team. Congratulations to Oklahoma. They played a great game, as well. Made a lot of nice plays. The crowd stayed with it. Apologize to them we're not signing autographs tonight. Obviously I had to send the bus back, get some rest and get ready for tomorrow. But like I said, proud of our team, proud of our effort, not happy with the result, but here we are.
Q. Obviously like you all, they have several pitchers on their staff that they're comfortable with, but the decision to start (Paige) Lowary, how did that affect things at all for you guys? Was it just a surprise and get over it and get going? How did that affect things?
TIM WALTON: I don't think it was — we've hit the ball hard, so I don't think there was any surprise at all.
Q. Coach, I asked Coach (Patty) Gasso earlier about the chess match of your pitching staff tonight, which one to start, which one to — how far to go, and then to make the changes late in the game, especially once it got to extra innings and be satisfied with that to finish out.
TIM WALTON: What was the question?
Q. As far as pitching in the circle.
TIM WALTON: I don't want to be rude. I don't understand what you're asking me to answer.
Q. The chess match of who to start the game, then you make a change late in the game, and once it gets to extra innings, to make another change and stay with that and finish.
TIM WALTON: OK, yeah. I mean, I just thought Delanie (Gourley) had given us all she had and it was time to make a change. I thought Kelly (Barnhill) gave us good seven and time to change looks, as well. But what we did tonight was really no different than we did in the past. Kelly goes on Friday night, Delanie goes on Saturday. Kelly pitched tonight on whatever night it is, Friday night, and Delanie came in on Saturday. We did the same thing. It really wasn't any different. I thought both coaches did exactly what they should have done, pulled the trigger at the right time, and she came in and put the fire out, and Delanie did the same. I thought the moves were great. I don't really — offense, need to find a way to get a little hit here or there, but the pitching was great.
Q. Amanda, talk a little bit about just kind of the will to keep fighting back whenever they get ahead of you guys and ultimately when it was up by three you didn't come all the way back, but when it becomes a power of wills, talk about your mindset and what did you do to make sure you kept coming back?
AMANDA LORENZ: Yeah, I'm really proud of our team tonight. Obviously we're not really happy with the result, but to keep fighting back against a team like Oklahoma, you can't really ask more from our offense, one more run. But yeah, just being comfortable in the moment, taking a deep breath, not letting it get too big, just really, really, really proud of our fight tonight.
Q. Kelly and Delanie, you guys, any fatigue factor at all?
DELANIE GOURLEY: I mean, not — that didn't even cross my mind. Every time I went out there, all I wanted to do was get the quickest three outs so we could come in and try to score. That was probably due to a little bit of adrenaline, but any game I pitch, I never really feel any fatigue, and so I just wanted to keep focused.
KELLY BARNHILL: Yeah, I agree with what Delanie is saying. In the moment when you're out there, there's so much adrenaline you really don't feel it. Sometimes your pitching may be a result of it; sometimes you may miss a location and they'll make you pay for that. But you really just go out there and you give 100 percent of whatever is in the tank.
Q. Kelly and Delanie, are you guys communicating throughout the game, especially with you starting and throwing seven and then you throwing eight and then coming back in?
KELLY BARNHILL: No, not really. We have different styles of pitching, and so we just kind of — pretty much we're just there for each other. We're there supporting each other, high fives, OK, good, you got out of that, or that's OK, we'll come back, that kind of thing. Not too much communicating about batters or things like that.
DELANIE GOURLEY: Yeah, I think just because we're both there, like we're watching and seeing the same things, but like she said, we have two completely different weapons. But right when I came out and she came in, I was like, Kelly, no one beats you, and she was like, no nobody beats us, so I think like I've been saying this whole week, that's a bond that not many people have, so really proud of us tonight. We did give it our all and so did the rest of our team. Yeah, just going to come out tomorrow and do the same thing.
Q. Sophia and Amanda, Oklahoma players were talking about their crowd. This is a championship game; did it feel hostile? Could you feel the home crowd that Oklahoma had tonight?
SOPHIA REYNOSO: I mean, they were loud, but I know that the one thing I tried to pay attention to was when our crowd came up and tried to one-up them. I think that kept us going in the game, that we tried not to let the loudness and the rowdiness of the other crowd get to us, and I think we did a good job of that and did a good job of communicating staying within our team.
AMANDA LORENZ: Yeah, I think that obviously their fans were great, big home-field advantage for them for sure. But when we're down by two runs or down by one run, two strikes, two outs and we come up clutch and tie up the game, obviously the crowd is not getting to us that much. Just really, really proud of the way that we had our little section up there, Gator Nation cheering us on, and that's all we needed tonight, and we're just really excited for tomorrow. Obviously it didn't get to us that much if we have that much fight left in our tank, so just proud.
Q. Amanda, with a game that goes this long, how much of a sense of time do you keep as it goes along? Do you know the ninth from the 11th from the 13th or your fourth at-bat from your fifth at-bat?
AMANDA LORENZ: It's all a blur right now. All I know is we lost. That's what I know, and I'm really excited for tomorrow. I'm really proud of our fight. Excited to go to sleep and wake up. Tomorrow is a new day, and we're still in the national championship. We have two more games left, and I'm really proud to see what we have tomorrow because obviously we showed the softball world a really good game tonight, and we're not done yet. Just really proud.
Q. Coach, once again, it's always about the circle, whether it's baseball or softball. Tonight's game, there was only seven walks thrown between the two teams. Are we witnessing greatness this weekend in the circle?
TIM WALTON: Yeah. I mean, I watched a little bit of TV just seeing the matchups, and they kind of flashed up the batting averages and the wins over the last 10 years and the wins over the last four years in championships, and obviously you saw two even matched teams tonight. But I think there's great pitching. They've got another kid that they can throw tomorrow. We've got another kid or two we can throw tomorrow, so I think you're witnessing a lot of great pitching. The scores have been — this tournament has been one of the best tournaments that I've been at. A lot of competitive games. We've had 3-1 games, 2-1 games, 1-0 games. I think you've got a lot of good pitching out there.
Championship Series Game 1: Oklahoma 7, Florida 5
- No. 10 Oklahoma outlasted No. 1 Florida 7-5 in the first game of the 2017 WCWS Championship Series on Monday night in 17 innings. OU first baseman Shay Knighten’s three-run blast in the top of the 17th gave the Sooners the lead for good.
- The 17-inning contest is the longest game in WCWS Championship Series history. The previous record was 12 innings when Oklahoma defeated Tennessee, 5-3, in game two of the 2013 WCWS Championship Series. Monday’s game was the sixth extra inning game in WCWS Championship Series history. Thirteen innings was the longest game to take place between two teams playing for the NCAA Championship (1984, Texas A&M vs. UCLA, pre-WCWS Championship Series era).
- Oklahoma improves to 26-16 at the Women’s College World Series, while Florida falls to 25-13. With the win, the Sooners move into sole possession of third place in all-time WCWS wins. Oklahoma and Florida entered the night tied with 25 wins apiece. The Sooners have won five straight and 11 out of their 12 games at the WCWS dating back to 2016.
- Every WCWS Championship Series since 2011 has featured either Florida (2011, ’14, 15, ’17) or Oklahoma (2012, ’13, ’16, ’17). The Gators won the NCAA title in 2014 and 2015, while OU captured the crown in the 2013 and 2016.
- Florida third baseman Alesha Ocasio put the Gators in the front 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, plating Nicole DeWhitt who doubled with to the right-field gap.
- The Sooners quickly responded in the top of the fifth as Sydney Romero’s RBI single scored Nicole Pendley to tie the game at 1-1. Pendley doubled to right center with one out for OU’s first hit of the game.
- Nicole Mendes gave OU the lead with a solo shot to right field in the top of the sixth, her sixth homer of the season. Mendes is the third freshman for OU to hit a home run in the WCWS Championship Series, joining Lauren Chamberlain (2012) and Sydney Romero (2016).
- Down to its last out, Florida tied the game at 2-2 as Sophia Reynoso doubled to score Aleshia Ocasio in the bottom of the seventh. It was Reynoso’s sixth double of the season and her 26th RBI.
- OU’s Fale Aviu sent a two-run shot, her first homerun of the postseason, over the right-field fence in the top of the 12th inning to put the Sooners up 4-2, but Florida’s Amber Lorenz responded with a double lined to left in the bottom of the inning to score two and knot the game at 4-4.
- In the top of the 17th, Knighten homered to left field, also scoring Mendes and Caleigh Clifton, to give Oklahoma a 7-4 advantage. Lorenz struck again with a sac fly to left field to plate Lily Mann.
- Florida starting pitcher Kelly Barnhill (26-4) took the loss, tossing 9.0 innings and allowing a season-high five runs on six hits, while striking out 10. Barnhill allowed her first home run since May 7 (North Texas) when Mendes hit her solo blast in the sixth. Barnhill re-entered the game and pitching the final two innings for the Gators, giving up the home run to Knighten.
- Monday’s game marked just the second time this season that Barnhill allowed three or more earned runs in a contest (3, at Florida State, May 3).
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