Sunday, June 5, 2016
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma – 7, Michigan – 5
Patty Gasso, Nicole Pendley, Erin Miller, Sydney Romero, Paige Parker
PATTY GASSO: Another very hard-fought game. I think this bracket that we got placed in is — it's been a hard road. So extremely proud of this group of athletes that came out believing that they could do this. We have and I have the utmost, utmost respect for the University of Michigan and Coach Hutch is a peer of mine that I respect, and that program I respect like no other. They do things the right way, and they fight. You knew it was going to come down to the very finish. There was not a lead that was going to be big enough against them with the mission that they're on.
For Paige (Parker) to hold on the way she did, for our defense to play a fantastic game and for our offense to find a way to score late was the difference. Extremely proud, yet at the same time very respectful of a phenomenal program like University of Michigan.
Q. Paige, bottom of the seventh, bases loaded, two outs, full count; what's going through your mind and how do you get that play?
PAIGE PARKER: Just to go out there and do whatever I had to do to win that game, and I knew I just had to throw a strike, and I knew my defense would be there, and when the ball came to me, I was just focused on making a good throw over to first. It was just such a hard fought seventh inning and just going out there and doing whatever I could to win the game.
Q. Patty, what were you thinking in the seventh? As you said, you knew Michigan was going to come back. Paige has progressed so far this year and become such a dominant pitcher. What were you thinking?
PATTY GASSO: Come on, Paige. It was just — I think anybody who's a Sooner fan, you're just like — you're just wishing her, rooting for her, to the point where I just stop saying anything to her because I think she's just in her own zone, and we knew the importance, and Michigan knew the importance of this game. It gives a team rest. Otherwise the other team is back here tomorrow playing at noon, which is a tough situation with this bracket. I don't think either team really deserves to come back at noon. But we've got on the good end of that, and I was just kind of hoping, and then I'm just kind of praying. All we could do is just root for her. There's nothing else we can do. She's working her tail off to execute pitches.
Q. Coach, did you at all prepare to steal a lot early in the game?
PATTY GASSO: I think our game plan was to push the envelope a little bit and really try to be aggressive and make them make plays. We wanted to kind of set that tone, but we've been doing it all year, and it's been pretty effective, and they've been doing a great job of executing the hit-and-runs and the plays that we are calling. That definitely was our game plan, to be very aggressive offensively.
Q. Paige, you've faced three of the top hitters in the country on this last three times. Elkins has one RBI in two games, McCleney doesn't get an RBI, and tonight Sierra has that one RBI on that infield hit. What have you brought from each of those three — facing those three players and have they all meshed together for you?
PAIGE PARKER: All three of those players are phenomenal players and phenomenal hitters, and it was just going in and executing the game plan and trying to minimize their impact as best as I could, and just going in with a strong game plan against them and attacking them. Like I said, they're phenomenal hitters, so it's just really executing the game plan to the best of my ability.
Q. Sydney, can you talk about some of the emotions surrounding this game playing against your sister?
SYDNEY ROMERO: I had to get over the fact that I was playing against my sister. It's tough because she's family but I had to get over it. I was rooting for her but I wasn't at the same time. That was the toughest part. But at the end of the day, I had to play it just like a normal game.
Q. Did you talk with her at all before the game? Did you talk with your family about it?
SYDNEY ROMERO: We texted each other a good luck text and we chatted a little bit during the game, but that's about it.
Q. How bad did you want to throw her out?
SYDNEY ROMERO: Oh, so bad. So bad. (Laughter).
Q. Sydney and Nicole, your home runs, just talk about what you saw there and how big those were for both of you.
SYDNEY ROMERO: I had a game plan on that at-bat and I stuck with it, and it got me a home run.
NICOLE PENDLEY: Same. I was just trying to hit the ball hard and try and find the ball in the zone and swing at strikes and just get a base hit.
Q. Paige, you had two of those tough innings with runners in scoring position. What do you say to yourself or do to kind of stay composed because I think a few of those at-bats you fell behind, a lot of full count pitches they fouled off quite a few pitches.
PAIGE PARKER: Yeah, the top of their lineup is very, very tough, and just going out there and just trying to minimize anything that they do and just try to do my best to get them out and let my defense work behind me.
Q. Erin, this team has played really good defense all year and you make one of the best defensive plays. This happens to this team all the time, doesn't it, somebody makes a great defensive play?
ERIN MILLER: I think the great thing about this team is there's a different hero, every inning, every game, every pitch, so I think we're all just trying to contribute anyway we can.
Carol Hutchins, Sierra Romero, Megan Betsa, Aidan Falk
CAROL HUTCHINS: Well, congrats to Oklahoma, and they came out and they were on their game. They had a great game plan. They attacked us, and they put us on our heels. I was disappointed. I did not think we were ready to play, and I didn't think our approach was good from the get-go, and as the game went on, we got a little bit better. But the name of the game is we out-hit them, but they got key hits, timely hits and a lot of free bases, and I never thought we played well as a team. We looked like we played a little bit individual around the edges. You're not going to beat a great team like Oklahoma, and they are a very good team.
We have our work cut out for us, and we're in a really tough situation, so we really need to go home, so if you could hurry up and ask the questions, we need to get out of here.
Q. Hutch, you talked about coming out the way they did. Is there anything you can attribute to that?
CAROL HUTCHINS: I think they were really excited about the opportunity to play, and I don't think they were focused on us.
Q. Sierra, is that something you noticed, as well, through the game, or how would you respond to that?
SIERRA ROMERO: I just think we took a little while to get going, and they got the first punch in, and we should have just tried to come out a little bit better.
Q. Megan, there was I guess kind of comparable to last year, your second game in the World Series after a complete game shutout, did that creep into your mind at all?
MEGAN BETSA: No, I'm pretty sure last year I didn't make it past the first inning in the second game, so I did a better job, but I didn't have my best stuff, and we never really recovered from that first inning, and that was my bad. I didn't come out and have my best stuff, and I should have.
Q. After going yesterday with so many pitches, how did you feel today in your back?
MEGAN BETSA: Felt fine. I was a little tight, but it's something I can work through.
Q. Hutch, you said you didn't think the team was ready to play. Why is that?
CAROL HUTCHINS: Honestly I think we were a little focused on Oklahoma.
Q. In what sense?
CAROL HUTCHINS: I think we were focused on them, and we focus on Michigan. That's when we're good. I think we were focused on them. That's what it appeared from the dugout, so it's on me.
Q. Aidan, can you talk about what type of pitch you were looking for when you hit that two-run homer there?
AIDAN FALK: I was just looking for a strike, and I had Hutch in my head saying, see the ball, so I saw the ball.
Q. Would you say that homer gave your team a spark?
AIDAN FALK: Yeah, we needed something to get us going, so that did the job.
Q. Hutch, do you think Megan goes tomorrow?
CAROL HUTCHINS: You know what, I'm just going to deal with this team right now, and we'll recover from that and we'll see. I'm sure we're going to need everybody tomorrow.
Q. After the strikeouts early in the game, did you think you guys were more aggressive at the plate later in the game?
CAROL HUTCHINS: I thought we took four called third strikes, and some were really big. I thought we needed to swing. The game plan was to swing, and we took a lot of the pitches that we needed to swing at. I thought we could be better, and we took some good cuts. We had some — we hit the ball well at times, but we also were timid at times, and you can't take a pitch off in a game like this.
Q. This is a 12-hour turnaround. How daunting is this task ahead of you?
SIERRA ROMERO: I mean, we've just got to get home, get some sleep. We're not out of it yet, so it's just a game.
AIDAN FALK: I think we just need some sleep, and today is done. Tomorrow is a new day.
MEGAN BETSA: We just need to come out tomorrow and attack from the first pitch, and you can never count us out. We have fight in us as you saw from the last inning, and we need to use that tomorrow.
Game 6: Oklahoma 7, Michigan 5
- No. 3 seed Oklahoma defeated No. 2 seed Michigan, 7-5, in Saturday night’s game six of the 2016 Women’s College World Series. With the win, the Sooners improve to 54-7, while Michigan falls to 52-6.
- With the win in the contest, the Sooners advance to take on the winner of Georgia and LSU at 8:30 p.m. CT on Sunday. Michigan will face Florida State at noon CT Sunday in an elimination game.
- With the win, the Sooners hold a 3-0 record against the Wolverines in WCWS action.
- The victory marks the 29th consecutive win for the Sooners, matching the program-best win streak set in 2005.
- OU sophomore Paige Parker, who improved to 35-3 on the season, got the win in the circle, allowing five runs on 12 hits and striking out eight in a complete-game performance. Parker’s 142 pitches in the contest set a career high.
- The Sooners and Wolverines met once earlier in the season on March 26 with Michigan defeating OU 16-9.
- Oklahoma’s five stolen bases matches a season high and ties a WCWS single-game record, set by Tennessee in 2007 when the Vols swiped five against Texas A&M.
- Oklahoma freshman Shay Knighten put the Sooners on the board in the top of the first inning with a single up the middle to score Caleigh Clifton and Erin Miller and give the Sooners a 2-0 lead.
- Knighten scored later in the first inning on a throwing error by Michigan catcher Aidan Falk after Sydney Romero stole second base to put Oklahoma up 3-0.
- Sooner freshman Sydney Romero blasted a solo home run to left field in the top of the third inning for a 4-0 OU lead.
- Michigan sophomore Falk sent a two-run home run down the right field line in the bottom of the fourth inning to put the Wolverines on the board.
- The Wolverines struck again the in fourth when senior Sierra Romero singled to score Natalie Peters to narrow the OU lead to 4-3.
- Oklahoma sophomore Nicole Pendley sent her eighth home run of the season over the right field fence in the top of the sixth inning to extend the Sooner lead to 5-3.
- OU struck again in the top of the seventh when Clifton scored after Fale Aviu walked with bases loaded. Two more Sooners came across the plate in the inning to put the Sooners up 7-3.
- Michigan rallied in the bottom of the seventh, plating Sierra Romero and Nikki Wald off singles from Falk and Lindsay Montemarano, but the Wolverines fell short, 7-5.
- Junior Megan Betsa took the loss for Michigan, allowing seven runs on six hits and striking out seven. Betsa, who walked six in the contest, fell to 28-4 on the season.
- The attendance for session three was 8,964.
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