Thursday, June 2, 2016
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Auburn 10, UCLA 3
Clint Myers, Kaylee Carlson, Emily Carosone, Jade Rhodes
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Coach, we'll open up with general comments from you about the game.
CLINT MYERS: I thought we played very well. I thought this young lady to my right did an outstanding job. We had one little hiccup there in the middle, but again, it's about how you finish. She composed herself, went out there, and threw zeros the rest of the way. I thought we followed the Auburn plan. We played great defense, no errors, minimal amount of walks and good pitching. We certainly had timely hitting. So again, those are the things that we talk about and preach every day. We're very excited about where we are, and we played a very
good UCLA ballclub, and to come out on top, we're real excited.
Q. Coach, have you ever seen a first inning like that, and then Emily, did you feel left out that you weren't getting hit by the pitches?
CLINT MYERS: Let Emily go first.
EMILY CAROSONE: No. (Laughter).
CLINT MYERS: It was an unusual inning, but again, it is what we do; we take advantage of what they give us. If they're going to throw it in the box, we're going to get it. I mean, it's pretty simple. We did what we needed to do in that first inning, and it was a very good first inning for us because of the fact that we executed timely hitting and taking advantage of what they gave us.
Q. Coach, I wanted to ask about the sixth inning with Howard tracking down the fly ball. Had that gotten away from her, that could have been a rallying point for UCLA. How big do you feel that was?
CLINT MYERS: Well, we work daily on trying to make things exciting (laughter). We tried to explain, she wants to be a vet, and so we talk to her daily that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points. But again, the wind took the ball a lot more than what she'd anticipated. But when you've got Tiffany Howard in left field, she's going to catch most of the things. She almost made a phenomenal catch on that dive that she was charging in on. Though it was unusual, the out still was recorded, and that's usually what happens with Tiffany out there.
Q. Jade, does a hit-by-pitch hurt a little bit less when it brings in a run?
JADE RHODES: Yes and no. I mean, it was a changeup that I got hit on, but it was my only hit-by- pitch all year, so I haven't felt a ball hit my body all year, so I really didn't know what it felt like.
Q. How different does it feel to come out with a win as opposed to last year where you lost your first game and kind of had your backs against the wall right away?
KASEY COOPER: Think it's definitely different because we came in with experience this year, and I was talking to Jade in the middle of the game, I said how different is it this year because we were here last year and we were playing a little nervous, and this year none of our hearts were racing. We've been here before, and we're excited. We came in with a plan.
We came in with a goal, and we executed that plan, so we're excited that we're four games away. We're four wins away from winning the national championship.
Q. Kaylee, they've all been here before and you haven't. Was it different for you when you went out there than usual?
KAYLEE CARLSON: I wouldn't say it was different than usual. I'm usually pretty nervous before every game, and that has nothing to do with where we are or the fans in the stands. That's just in myself. So I think that going out in the first inning and having to be such a good inning and ending with a double play just to start the game off relaxed me and made me depend on my team.
Q. Coach, Auburn, two appearances in the Women's College World Series. Both years you take down UCLA, one of the most storied programs in softball. Is that kind of a microcosm or symbolism of what you're trying to achieve at Auburn?
CLINT MYERS: Yes. What we're trying to do is establish a legacy that Auburn University belongs at the College World Series every year. It's just like what you were talking about with UCLA, with Arizona, with Alabama, with Florida, with all of the other teams that are here, Oklahoma, that are here year in, year out. We want people to believe that Auburn is the team that's going to be here, as well.
Even though we're in the infancy of our legacy, these young ladies to my right have clearly started something very special that we plan to continue in the future.
Q. Jade, this is the second time in a very short time span that you have made a probably single turn into a double. How are you looking and how are you able to see that you're able to stretch a play like that and ended up being a big one because you ended up scoring and you probably wouldn't have if you would have been on first?
JADE RHODES: I mean, we work on it every day, and when we work on it with our defense they push us and they make it harder for us to get to second. It's kind of our read ourselves and the coaches saying, open wider. But I mean, we've just got to go for it. Either you make it or you don't, you've just got to make the read yourself. It's pretty exciting when you can get into scoring position on a single.
Q. Clint, you swept Georgia at home, a couple close games. How big is it to play somebody that you're that familiar with in this event?
CLINT MYERS: Again, it's about us going out and taking care of what we do. I tell the girls — in fact, we just finished visiting in the locker room, and we've got to play the game. We've got to play the game. The coaches will take care of the strategy about Georgia and the matchups and things like that, but what you've got to do is have your quality at-bats. You've got to take care of things that you have complete control over. We beat them three times. We swept them at home, and so it's — we know what we need to do, and again, on those days, in those games, we did exactly what we had planned going into it. So it's about execution. It's about playing Auburn softball and making it happen. We know what our strengths are. We know what we need to do in order to win. I'm feeling pretty good about these young ladies to my right.
Q. Back to the first inning, for Jade and Kasey, they say hitting is contagious. Is getting hit contagious, and what was that like watching that unfold?
KASEY COOPER: Quality at-bats are contagious, so when we started off the game and Tiff started it off.
We got her to first base. The next goal was to get her to second. How can we do that? Well, to have a quality at-bat. We wanted to force the pitchers to make the pitches in the strike zone. Our goal was to get a pitch that we could handle and that we could drive. So ultimately it's have a quality at-bat, and quality at-bats are contagious because when you see people in front of you having success, you feel more confident and you go to the bat more confident.
JADE RHODES: I mean, we always say just find a way on, whether it's bases loaded or runners at first or even no one on. Find a way on. If that means getting hit by a pitches and getting bruises or putting the ball in play and making them make plays, that's really what our motto is, it's just find a way on.
Kelly Inouye-Perez, Mysha Sataraka, Paige McDuffee
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. At this time we have UCLA on the dais. At this time we'll get general comments from Coach and then open it up for questions.
KELLY INOUYE-PEREZ: Well, that wasn't our game plan, losing game one, but I can simply say that at the beginning of the tournament I mentioned that it's the team that's able to settle in and play their game the quickest that is going to be most successful. We didn't play our game today, but the best thing we have going is it is a double-elimination tournament. We have the ability to fight back and I have great faith in this team, the individuals and coaching staff. I have great faith that we're going to be able to pull together and play our game, and when that happens you're going to be able to see UCLA softball, and I'm excited for that.
Q. Kelly, were you surprised how they started in the first inning?
KELLY INOUYE-PEREZ: Nothing about this year has been easy. You know, we've dealt with a lot of adversity, so surprised would never be a word I would use with this team. The most impressive part of 2016 is not what happens but what they do next, so I'm very excited, and I can't wait to be able to see what they do next. This team has been very resilient. This team hasn't been perfect. This team is here as a top-eight team because they fought their way to get here. I believe with your backs against the wall is when you kind of kick in with experience, and our program has experience in this position. We've lost the first game and gotten to the championship and actually won it.
So it is possible. You have to be able to put yourself in the position to understand how you're going to get there, and that's all I talked about. Where we are is we dropped game one. Where we are going to go is we're going to get after the next one and our plan is to do it together.
Q. Paige what was it like taking over in the first inning? What was the vibe on the team?
PAIGE McDUFFEE: Like always, just trying to take it pitch by pitch. We didn't really get the outcome that we wanted, but we're just going to keep our same process and get after it the next time.
Q. Paige, does it get in your head after you hit a bad error and then you see other batters be hit in the first inning, does that add to the pressure of throwing your pitch?
PAIGE McDUFFEE: No, I try to just separate everything, so move on to the next pitch. If something happens, then just — I'm 100 percent into the next pitch.
Q. Mysha, your home run wasn't enough to kind of serve as a rallying point for this game, but is it something you can use moving forward against Florida State?
MYSHA SATARAKA: Yeah, you know what, just all around, it just wasn't the greatest game. Yeah, I got the hit. We're just kind of going to learn from what happened today, take it, and move on to the next game because that's all we can do now.
Q. Coach, is there anything you can even explain how you can start a game like that? I mean, I know it's probably difficult to do, but I'm just curious. KELLY INOUYE-PEREZ: Explain?
Q. How you start a game like that.
KELLY INOUYE-PEREZ: Have you ever played? Yeah, so those are those things that happen that are unexplainable. What we've done is prepare, and literally success is preparation, and preparation means opportunity. We didn't prepare for the game to go that way, but in athletics sometimes those things happen. Like I say, the most important thing is not what happens but it's what you do next, and you've got to learn how to have a short-term memory. Ugly, straight up. Explaining it? I believe my pitchers and my players are better. As far as being in athletics you've got to be in control so you can execute what you came here to do, and like I said, I'm going to continue to say it, I believe, and they know there's no need to be Captain Obvious, we did not come out and play our game. There is no reason to look backwards. We've got to be able to figure out what we're going to do next and fully commit to that and take the game one pitch at a time. We're here because we have done that, and like I said, I'm excited to be able to get out there again.
Q. You talk about what's up next. You have Florida State up next. Another team that didn't really get to play its game plan, seven errors in its game. What do you take from watching them play against Georgia and what do you expect to see against them tomorrow?
KELLY INOUYE-PEREZ: You know, the best part about it is I've been on this stage for so long as a player, as an assistant, as a head, and what happens is irrelevant. It's the team that continues to battle. It's a double-elimination tournament for that reason. You can have an off game and still be a champion, but you better get really committed to what you're going to do next. So it's absolutely possible, but the best thing that I love about this, and a big part of why I wanted all of them to get out there and play is feel it, and I told them, in a week I want you to be able to look back on this tournament and have no regrets, so you've got to go for it, and that's athletics. You've got to be able to fully commit to what you're doing. You've got to go for it, and hope that your preparation, when that opportunity comes is going to pay out and it leads to success, and that's all we can do. But as athletes you're here on the stage, you've got to go for it, you've got to enjoy this opportunity to be a top-eight team and have that chance to win a championship. So it's not over. Florida State, UCLA, our backs are against the wall, I expect an absolutely outstanding game because we're playing to be able to continue our season, so we're going to play it one pitch at a time.
Q. Coach, having played Auburn the last two years, can you compare this Auburn team to last year's Auburn team?
KELLY INOUYE-PEREZ: No. Last year was last year. This year was this year.
Q. Mysha, did you sense any jitters or any kind of butterflies from yourself or your team before the game or kind of as the first inning continued on?
MYSHA SATARAKA: I don't think it was jitters or butterflies, I think we just didn't come out how we wanted to. Like Coach said, it happens, and like I said, we take what we learn from that, and we're moving on to the next game.
Q. Coach, as the only Pac-12 team in the tournament, do you feel like there's added pressure on you because of that to win?
KELLY INOUYE-PEREZ: Not at all. This is not about conferences. This isn't about pressure. This is about an opportunity to be able to have a chance to win the championship. I want my Bruins and I want my hope watching this and being a part of this, your goal is to be able to play your best when your best is needed, and it doesn't matter where you're from or how you got here, you're here. So I want you to look at this opportunity, and I want my Bruins to look at this opportunity as an outstanding experience and have no regrets. May not be perfect, but you'd better go for it and stick together. That's what college athletics is all about, and it teaches you about those things that you're going to face in the real world when it's not a game. Right now it's just a game. It's a fun game. Where we came from, I'm proud of the PAC because they prepared us to be able to get to this moment, but I think for right now we're representing UCLA softball, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Q. Paige and Mysha, to hear your coach fired up right now saying this is not over for you guys what do for you guys as players out on the field?
PAIGE McDUFFEE: I mean, I think it just exudes confidence. We all know, like I keep saying, we just take it pitch by pitch, and like Coach said, we have to have a short-term memory, and I mean, we know our backs are against the wall and we just have to fight and string together and just go for it, so it just gives us confidence, and we just know we have to go for it.
MYSHA SATARAKA: I forgot the question, sorry?
Q. What kind of confidence does your coach have in you guys moving forward and what does that do for you as a player?
MYSHA SATARAKA: Coach always has confidence in us and we're going to take that — we've been in this position before, dropped the first game, so we're just going to come back tomorrow, get a good workout in come Saturday and go for it. That's all you can do.
Game 2: Auburn 10, UCLA 3
- No. 4-seed Auburn defeated No. 12 seed UCLA, 10-3, in the second game of session one at the 2016 Women’s College World Series. The Tigers improved to 55-10 on the season, while the Bruins fell to 40-15.
- With the win, Auburn advances to take on No. 16 Georgia on Friday at 6 p.m. CT. UCLA will play No. 8 Florida State at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday.
- In its second consecutive and second overall WCWS appearance, Auburn moved to 3-2 all-time in the tournament, while the Bruins fell to 91-32 in their 26th overall appearance.
- In the complete-game performance, Auburn’s Kaylee Carlson got the win in the circle to improve to 18-2 this season. Carlson allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out two against the Bruins.
- UCLA’s Selina Ta’Amilo took the loss in the contest, falling to 19-6 overall this season after allowing four runs on one hit and hitting two batters 0.1 innings of work. Paige McDuffee and Johanna Grauer each entered the game in relief. McDuffee allowed three runs on four hits and hit two batters and Grauer gave up three runs on four hits and walked three.
- The win marks Auburn’s second victory over UCLA in the WCWS as the Tigers eliminated the Bruins, 11-10, in 10 innings in last season’s tournament.
- Auburn’s 10 runs scored in the contest is its most in a seven-inning game at the Women’s College World Series.
- UCLA pitchers Selina Ta’amilo and Paige McDuffee each hit two batters in the first inning of the game. The four hit-by-pitches set a season-high for Auburn.
- Auburn scored five runs on one hit and one error in the first inning of the contest. Four Tigers were hit by pitch in the opening inning.
- An Emily Carosone hit to right field in the third inning scored Tiffany Howard and Victoria Draper to put the Tigers up 7-0. The senior finished with two RBIs against the Bruins.
- UCLA’s Mysha Sataraka put the Bruins on the board in the top of the fourth inning with a three-run homerun, marking her 14th of the season.
- Auburn’s Haley Fagan doubled to left center in the bottom of the fourth inning to give the Tigers an 8-0 lead in the contest.
- Kasey Cooper’s double to left center in the sixth inning scored two to give Auburn its final runs of the contest and set the score at 10-3. Cooper drove in two runs and also scored one run in the victory.
- Auburn’s Jade Rhodes led the Tigers with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate. The senior recorded her 11th double of the year and finished with a RBI.
- The overall attendance for session one was 8,482, marking the highest opening-session attendance in WCWS history.
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