Texas A&M Post Game 7 Press Conference
2017 Women's College World Series
Saturday June 3, 2017
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
UCLA – 8, Texas A&M – 2
Texas A&M interview with Jo Evans, Celena Massey, Sarah Hudek, Riley Sartain, and Ashley Walters.
JO EVANS: Early on we got a little bit behind in the count, and UCLA took advantage of that, and then I thought Trinity Harrington did a great job of settling in, giving us some really good innings, throwing some ground balls. I thought our defense played well today. I thought our infield in particular looked very good, made plays when we were able to get plays, and then offensively the important thing is to be able to hang in there long enough. I thought we had some good at-bats early even though we hadn't scored a run, and then to see Riley get up there — actually the at-bat before Riley (Sartain) was Ashley Walters, who just smoked a line drive up the middle of the field and their second baseman made a terrific play. At that point, tip your hat to that defensive play. And then Riley comes up and hits a home run. At that point we started to feel a little better about ourselves at the plate and striking the ball well.
Going into that last inning we felt like we had a chance to win this thing, and we just couldn't keep it close. Yeah, I'm disappointed in the ground ball to Riley taking a bad hop right there. I guess this is my chance to say I'm an advocate for dragging the field in the late innings. We do it in the SEC. You've got two minutes and 45 seconds. It takes them exactly 48 seconds to do it, so that's my little plug. I didn't come here to say that, just accidently came out of my mouth (laughter), but it would have been fun for Riley to have a ground ball that didn't pop up and get her.
But UCLA did a really great job to just keep coming. They're offensively just a powerhouse. They hit through their lineup. They hit with a lot of power, and you know, they showed why they continue to come back to the College World Series year in and year out. I have a ton of respect for Sharron Backus, Sue Enquist and now Kelly Inouye-Perez, just winning ballgames every season and being at the College World Series.
Q. It seemed like after you turned a double play you had a chance for some emotion. Can you talk about what you said to your team at that point after you turned that double play?
JO EVANS: Well, I was fired up that our kids can play defense. I've been watching that all year long, and I was really proud of them to get us off the field in some tough situations. Really just saying, hey, we're in this, let's go. We have the right people up right now, and let's keep attacking the ball in the zone.
Q. Celena, you gave us all goosebumps with your home run; just talk about that, talk about the emotion that you felt and the reaction of your teammates.
CELENA MASSEY: You know, I've been playing the past four years here, and my team, I would step up for them any day. I just had to get it done for them. Honestly, I didn't know what the bat was going to be like, and I just went up there hacking, and after that, I saw them jumping, and I was like, holy-moley, it's out. I just got so excited with them. I wouldn't want to get more excited with anyone else besides this team. Like I love this team so much, and their emotion is amazing. They're a great team.
Q. Ashley, two big momentum plays at the plate; what happened on the first one? Did you feel like you got the tag on the first one? And then the second one, kind of walk through what happened there and what took you down there on that one.
ASHLEY WALTERS: Yeah, the first one, the throw came from Tori (Vidales), and I just knew where my feet were. I thought I had the tag, but at that point in the play, you can't change what happens, so we just had to move forward with it, move on to the next at-bat, stuff like that. Just focus on getting outs, and the last play, the throw kind of took my arm that way, but I ended up throwing it to Riley (Sartain) to get the double play somehow, but I'm glad we got out of that inning quickly.
Q. Coach, another question about Celena, that moment. What was going through your mind when that bat hit the ball?
JO EVANS: I was out of my mind. I actually after the game apologized to Kirk (Walker) and Kelly (Inouye-Perez) for acting so ridiculous when we got a home run and the score was 8-1. I just wanted to make sure they knew I wasn't trying to show anybody up or anything. But in that moment when you've got a kid you love and respect and they go up and do that, I was just fired up. I was going crazy over there.
Just really proud of C (Celena Massey) and Reagan (Boenker). We just have two seniors, and they've been just the consummate team players. They're not kids that get in the lineup every single day. So when you see that happen — to me, I'm like, this is what it's all about, you know.
Q. Was that your plan, to have your two seniors to get at the plate in that seventh inning?
JO EVANS: I really was just in the moment of the game, and I was mad at myself actually when UCLA kind of put the nail in the coffin, they went up 8-1, and that next kid came up, and in the middle of the at-bat, I'm like, man, I blew it, I should have C (Celena Massey) behind the plate right now because I just wanted her to play in the College World Series, and so I was upset at myself, like why didn't I think of that a bit sooner. And going into the last inning, this is an explosive ballclub, and you've got Riley Sartain coming up. At that point my plan was if Riley gets on, we're going to make a run at this thing, and if Riley doesn't get on, those two kids are going to be — they're going to play in the College World Series, so that's kind of what it came down to, and of course I had to run it by Coach Glasco because I don't want him thinking I'm not there to win games, but to me it's about those kids, so that's how it went down, but I didn't have some master plan in my mind, just that's how it played out.
Q. Celena, over your four years how do you figure out and learn and accept what your role is going to be? It might not be 200 at-bats per year, but kind of accepting what it's going to be?
CELENA MASSEY: I'd guess I'd say to stay selfless for your teammates no matter what. You all have got to take the leadership role and show the underclassmen what it's like to be part of the program, and you've got to have them take on the role, as well, and just do the best you can for your team.
Q. Riley and Sarah, Coach mentioned there's only two seniors. If you could talk about what you take from — I know it's early to reflect, but what you take from this World Series appearance and as far as Texas A & M next season.
RILEY SARTAIN: You know, I think this year was a really great year for us. We're always sad to see a big part of our program go, and we definitely wouldn't be here without Reagan (Boenker) and Celena (Massey), and I can't thank them enough for not only who they are to our ballclub but who they are off the field to all of the players and all my teammates, and I think you can expect to see us here next year. I think that we're only getting years of experience under our belt. We're getting bigger, stronger, faster in the offseason. As sad as I am to see them go, I'm also excited for the future to see what this program has for us.
SARAH HUDEK: I mean, pretty much based off that, what Reagan and C have done for this program, not many people may see on the surface, but they mean so much more than what everyone sees out here because we see the C and the Reagan that are in the clubhouse and the ones that are the most selfless people I've ever met, and to be able to have the opportunity to have them as teammates is something that's going to make as well as everybody else on my team College World Series obviously wasn't the outcome we wanted but just getting that experience and we're not losing any starters, and I mean, just the experience is just going to kind of get us more comfortable when we come back next year.
Q. Sarah, this is your first year playing college softball. You just completed your first season, so you were playing baseball one year ago and now you find yourself here. What's it like for you to not only find yourself at the College World Series but also to have such great success in your first season playing softball?
SARAH HUDEK: Yeah, I can say I'm pretty lucky that I ended up at such a great program that's not only just great on the field but great people, and Coach Evans' really harps for us to leave a legacy, and C (Celena Massey) and Reagan (Boenker) have left their legacy, and just to see that and to see the alumni that come back and in the stands this World Series, just it's awesome to see that. A & M is a family, and I wouldn't want to be part of any other family.
Q. Ashley, can you talk about the rest of the team's perspective when she hit that home run because you guys came screaming out of the dugout?
ASHLEY WALTERS: Yeah, I mean, both of them probably knew when they were going up to bat that it could be their last at-bat of their career, and we were all pulling so hard for them. Like Coach Evans says, it didn't matter the outcome, we were going to be happy for them no matter what. But when we saw that ball go over the fence, you'd better know we were going to be the first ones out to that home plate to be cheering louder than she was around the bases. It was just so awesome for them. We were talking about it earlier, she's going to have kids and tell them about this and they're not going to believe her, they're going to be like, you're lying, you didn't hit a home run in your last at-bat in the College World Series. Like that's just unbelievable. I'm so happy for them.
Game 7: UCLA 8, Texas A&M 2
- In the first elimination game of Session 4, No. 5 seed UCLA earned an 8-2 victory on Saturday over No. 9 seed Texas A&M. The Bruins improve to 48-14, while the Aggies finished their season with a record of 47-13.
- UCLA advances to face Washington in an elimination game on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT. The Huskies won the season series against the Bruins on March 31-April 2, taking two of three games in Seattle.
- In its 27th WCWS appearance, UCLA improved to 96-34 at the event. The win snapped a five-game losing skid at the WCWS for the Bruins. Texas A&M fell to 21-15 all-time at the WCWS.
- The matchup marked the eighth meeting between Texas A&M and UCLA at the WCWS, but the first since 1987. The series is tied 4-4 at the event.
- UCLA second baseman Kylee Perez put the Bruins on the board with a solo blast to center field in the top of the first. Perez’s home run was her third of the season and her second in the last eight games.
- The Bruins tacked on two more runs in the top of the second as Delaney Spaulding’s single to right field plated Rachel Garcia and Zoe Shaw. After Texas A&M cut the UCLA lead down to 3-1 in the fourth, Spaulding drove in her second run of the day with a double to left center in the seventh. The senior recorded three RBIs, added a run scored and was 2-for-3 with a double.
- A Perez single and a double from Brianna Tautalafua extended UCLA’s lead to 6-1 in its final at-bat. Perez was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs, while Tautalafua was also 3-for-4 with a double and a RBI.
- Garcia helped her cause in the circle by drilling a two-out, two-run homer to left center in the seventh to push UCLA’s advantage to 8-1. She finished 1-for-2 at the plate with two runs and two RBIs. In the circle, Garcia improved to 23-8 this season, allowing one run and striking out two in 6.0 innings of work. Selina Ta’amilo pitched the final inning for the Bruins.
- Texas A&M scored its first run of the game in the fourth as third baseman Riley Sartain recorded her 13th home run of the season with a solo blast to left field.
- Sarah Hudek led the Aggies at the plate, finishing 2-for-2 with a double.
- Pinch-hitter Celena Massey drilled a two-run home run in just her fifth at-bat of the season for the Aggies. It marked her first home run of the season and her first since 2015.
- Trinity Harrington (14-4) was tagged with the loss for the Aggies, pitching 6.1 innings and surrendering six runs (five earned). The junior gave up nine hits, while walking three and striking out two.
- The Bruins improved to 19-2 when scoring in the first inning and are 35-0 when leading after five innings this season.
- UCLA assistant coach Lisa Fernandez was ejected in the top of the sixth inning for arguing a call at home plate.
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