Oklahoma Post Game 4 Press Conference
2017 Women's College World Series
Thursday, June 1 2017
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma – 6, Baylor – 3
Oklahoma interview Patty Gasso, Paige Parker, Lea Wodach, Macey Hatfield, Nicole Pendley, and Nicole Mendes.
PATTY GASSO: It was tough. That was a tough game. We know each other very well, and we're always fighting for Big 12 championships, so to put it on this stage is a whole ‘nother feeling. Baylor is a good team that makes your defense play, and we felt that pressure tonight.
But what I love about this team is that they came out and wanted to set the tone, and they did exactly that throughout the lineup. These guys were hitting the ball hard, and I just felt we had good momentum throughout the entire game. We'll definitely clean up our defense. That's something that's not uncommon the first game of the World Series, but it didn't seem to hurt us enough. We were able to hold on. It was great to get Paige Lowary in the game along with Paige Parker, and good first win, and that's exactly what you want when you come into this tournament is get the first win and away you go. Just wasn't maybe the prettiest, but it's in our back pocket, and we're ready to move on.
Q. Patty, when Nicole Mendes gets that single to start everything off, and Pendley, who's so hot right now, you had to feel pretty good how your team got out of the gate.
PATTY GASSO: I think that was something that we really talked about and we preach, and they did a great job of that. I think the tone got set early, and it pretty much stayed there.
Our offense — Paige Parker, Paige Lowary were good. Our offense was really good, and we've been waiting for this explosion, and it's happening.
Our defense is really good. They didn't look so much that tonight, but I know they'll be back and ready to go. So it was a good way to start this tournament.
Q. Paige, you were very efficient tonight, only 68 pitches. What was going well for you?
PAIGE PARKER: I think just trying to give them a good mix of pitches and just come out and attack early in the count and just execute the game plan.
Q. Nicole Pendley, the last time you faced Kelsee Selman you got a grand slam. Does that give you extra confidence going into this game and facing her in the first inning?
NICOLE PENDLEY: I guess in a way, but she also owned me a lot of the other times, so I give her credit, and I respect her very much. She's a great pitcher. So I think I just went up there, kind of a fresh mind, and tried to stick to the game plan we created.
Q. Coach, this year has been highlighted by SEC and Pac-12 play; do you feel like you guys kind of were under the radar even though you are the defending national champions?
PATTY GASSO: Maybe a little, but we like being under the radar. We don't need the limelight. We don't need the headlines. We just come in and play ball. It doesn't bother our team. If anything it kind of motivates us. But we don't need the spotlight. We like where we're at.
Q. Macey, what about postseason has really turned you on? You've had some really big plays the last few games and some really big plays tonight.
MACEY HATFIELD: It's just going out there and having fun. I don't really think about making these big plays. To me they're just routine, so I like to just go out there and play my game.
Q. Patty, what were your emotions going to that seventh inning because it looked like with the errors and everything kind of snowballing on you guys that it might have gotten out of hand really quick there.
PATTY GASSO: We had Paige Parker ready, but it wasn't anything Paige Lowary was doing wrong. Sometimes you've just got to change momentum. We had Paige Parker ready, but I trust this defense. This defense has been our staple all season long. As long as we kept trying to get the lead out, one thing that was really critical for us was CC (Caleigh Clifton) getting the out at second, and although we didn't turn the double play, we gave up the run, but we took the runner out of scoring position, which I think was really important.
It was uncomfortable. It's hard to watch because I know how much better we are. But again, Baylor creates that on us. I say this over and over: Baylor makes us better. They make us play hard, and we appreciate that. We like that.
It was a little bit touch-and-go, but I trusted this defense and Paige Lowary.
Q. Nicole Mendes, you looked so nervous, the first pitch you see you swat to left field. What was it like playing in this first game for you because nothing seems to faze you ever?
NICOLE MENDES: I mean, coming out, it was just kind of creating a game plan, and I think that me trusting in the game plan kind of took the nerves away. I felt that no matter what happens, our game plan was going to work, and I trusted in it, and it kind of worked, so yeah.
Q. Paige, Shelby Friudenberg and McGlaun have been big power hitters for them this year. How much emphasis was it to keep them in the park?
PAIGE PARKER: They are both very good hitters, so it was just trying to keep them off balance, and you know, just like our hitters were talking about, it's the same for pitchers and trusting our game plan that Coach Lombardi had. It was important to try to keep them off base because they both are very good hitters.
Q. Coach Gasso told us yesterday that she waited during the season to give you guys the bracelets that you wear around your wrists, and now that you're here and you're earned them at the World Series, what does that mindset, that mentality mean for you girls?
PAIGE PARKER: You know, championship mindset is the foundation that we try to build off of, and having these bracelets after we've earned them means so much to us. You know, it's always a reminder, I think, during the game you can just look down and see that bracelet on your wrist and know that it's go time and know that if we do embrace that championship mindset, it'll take us a long way.
Q. Both Nicoles have mentioned game plan when referencing the home run and one the first-pitch single. At the top of the first, was it something specific that early in the game you were looking for?
NICOLE PENDLEY: Well, I think we learned from previous batters how she was attacking the zone, and we knew that (Kelsee) Selman was being aggressive and trying to get ahead in the count, so I think it was just learning from previous batters where she was pitching her first pitch, her tendencies, so I think we were just learning from the batter before us, and Nicole Mendes just starting the game off going opposite field, so I think it was just learning from each other and going with it.
Q. In the seventh inning when things are kind of snowballing, for Lea, what do you do as a catcher to kind of keep things together for you guys defensively?
LEA WODACH: I think it's just pulling the defense together, especially keeping Paige (Lowary) on her feet, on the ground, on the mound, telling her you're doing everything that you can and it's more an issue that we need to figure out with the defense rather than what she was doing. She did everything that we could ask for, so it's more just, hey, defense, let's pick her up here, let's make a play, let's stop the bleeding. We knew that we had a pretty good cushion so we were just trying to get outs. We talked a lot about not worrying about the runners that were on but trying to stop the bleeding, getting outs as quick as we could.
Q. Nicole Mendes, you've hit safely in 40 of the last 45 games; what has been your approach at the plate and your mentality each and every game to make that happen?
NICOLE MENDES: Honestly, whenever I go up there, I just want to look for my pitch, and whenever I see it, I just want to hit the ball hard. I'm not really trying to swing for the fences or make anything spectacular, I'm just trying to get my job done, and it's been working.
Game 4: Oklahoma 6, Baylor 3
- No. 10 seed Oklahoma defeated No. 15 Baylor, 6-3, in the second game of Session 2. The Sooners won their seventh straight game and improved to 57-9 overall, while the Lady Bears dropped to 48-14.
- With the victory, Oklahoma advances to play No. 6 Washington on Friday at 8:30 p.m. CT. Baylor will face Oregon at 1:30 p.m. CT on Saturday in an elimination game.
- Oklahoma improved to 23-15 all-time at the WCWS. The Sooners have made 11 all-time appearances at the WCWS and OU is tied for fourth all-time with 23 victories at the event. OU also improves to 7-4 in WCWS opening games. Baylor fell to 5-7 all-time in its fourth appearance at the WCWS.
- Nicole Pendley drove in three OU runs in the game, belting a three-run blast in the first inning. Pendley has hit four home runs in the last six games and has it seven career homers in the postseason (four in 2017).
- OU’s Fale Aviu opened the scoring the in top of the first inning with a sacrifice fly, scoring Nicole Mendes. The sophomore drove in her second run of the night with a RBI single, plating Caleigh Clifton. Aviu is tied for second on the team with 16 multi-RBI games this season.
- OU sophomore Caleigh Clifton extended her school record by reaching on a hit-by-pitch for the 24th time this season. Senior Macey Hatfield was 2-for-3, her first multi-hit game in the postseason during OU career.
- Paige Parker improved to 25-5 this season and won her 14th straight decision in the postseason dating back to 2016. The junior surrendered five hits and allowed one run (unearned) in six innings of work, while striking out two. Parker is 6-0 in six appearances at the WCWS during her career. OU’s Paige Lowary tossed the final inning of the game, giving up one hit and two runs, both unearned.
- Baylor’s Shelby Selman took the loss, falling to 24-9 in the circle. Selman pitched five innings, giving up nine hits and six earned runs. Gia Rodoni struck out one in one inning of out of the bullpen.
- Maddison Kettler led the Lady Bears, finishing 3-for-3 with a run scored. Lindsey Cargill finished 2-for-4 with an RBI. Jesse Scroggins tallied Baylor’s other hit in the game with an infield single in the fifth inning.
- Oklahoma committed a season-high four errors, its most in one game since committing three against Northwestern on April 10, 2013. It was the most errors in a WCWS game for the Sooners since committing four versus Missouri on June 4, 2011.
- Thursday’s meeting marked the sixth time in WCWS history that Big 12 teams have met and the first since 2013 (OU defeated Texas, 10-2, in five innings).
- Attendance for Session 2 was 8,874.
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