Washington Post Game 9 Press Conference
2017 Women's College World Series
Saturday June 3, 2017
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Washington – 1, UCLA – 0
Washington interview with Heather Tarr, Morganne Flores, Ali Aguilar, and Taran Alvelo.
HEATHER TARR: Kind of a surreal game for us in terms of our pitching and our defense. I'm just really proud of how we were able to stick together from last night. Tough loss, not the way we wanted to play last night, and to give — kind of how we did in front of a tough environment and a tough crowd, it kind of left a bad taste in our mouth. But to wake up today, new day, wait all day to play, Taran (Alvelo) brought her A game today. It was big time. She was probably at her best, just in terms of mentality, execution of her pitches, getting back to where she needed to be when she needed to be there, and Ali (Aguilar) knew her team needed her to hit that home run, she absolutely knew and she knew she needed to make a clear plan when she went up to the plate to be able to execute when it mattered. That was huge, too.
Morganne (Flores) is kind of a little unsung hero. She was big for us in regionals, super regionals. Offensively you guys saw the news and all that stuff, but her being able to catch all those games and stay in it and do what we need her to do in terms of the battery with Taran is huge, and what a great opportunity for this group to be able to get to tomorrow.
Q. You still have softball to play, obviously, but what do you take away from your time with Ali (Aguilar) as the only four-year senior that you have?
HEATHER TARR: She's one of the best players that we've ever had and we've had a lot of good ones, and I think what sets her apart is who he is and the person she is, her family, the values that she has and the influence that she has had on our program in terms of character and values. Academically, just an off-the-charts student. But just in terms of like a softball player, she really understands the game of softball, and there's some kids that maybe think like a coach or maybe want to coach, but they can't necessarily play and execute it on the field. That was me. But just kind of in awe of her ability to really execute a game plan and seek information out, and this year I think was big for her to be able to bring others along, and she's taking advantage of that opportunity for her team, and she's found a way to lead her team in just way more ways than just offensive execution or defensive influence.
Q. Taran, you've been really good in this tournament. Tonight you were on another level. Did something change or what was your mindset going into tonight?
TARAN ALVELO: Like Coach Tarr said, last night kind of left a bad taste in our mouth, and I wasn't happy with my performance. I felt like I let my team down last night, so I did everything in my power to make sure that that didn't happen and I had their backs just like they had mine the whole time.
Q. Coach, when you played UCLA in the regular season, a lot of scoring was happening. What was the biggest difference? Do you think it was Taran (Alvelo) and her pitches?
HEATHER TARR: Yes. We go back and review the film. Of course once we knew who we were going to play today, you almost can't even look at the film because you have to see with the discount — sorry, T, but like she knows this, she was all over the place, mechanically, mentally. We ended up coming close and losing 9-8 in Game 2 and then we ended up winning Game 3 12-7. That's not us, that's not our game, and if we were going to be able to get to this point, that's not how we were going to be able to play the game. A lot of the growth that's happened within our team, specifically with Taran just understanding that she is the rock on the team. The team has really made that clear, and she's embraced that opportunity and that pressure, and it's been really cool to see that growth.
Q. Heather, yesterday you said you guys needed to be tougher. Do you feel like you accomplished that today?
HEATHER TARR: Yeah, I think just in terms of just the mentality of being here and owning it and taking possession of the opportunity, we didn't do that yesterday, and a tough team takes possession of every single opportunity, every single pitch and doesn't take a pitch off, and they did that today for the most part. I think offensively the game — we had a lot of opportunities. We had six lead-offs offensively that we didn't execute for — I mean, it took a solo home run to get the one run. We didn't execute like we could have offensively, but keep it in perspective, tip our cap to Rachel Garcia. What a great season UCLA had, a lot of growth for them, too, and just really proud of our team for being able to come back from last night and win a tough one today 1-0.
Q. Morganne, you kind of have a different perspective than all of us when you actually catch Taran (Alvelo); what were you seeing tonight, and maybe this whole tournament?
MORGANNE FLORES: Yeah, I just think that Taran is just 100 percent tough, and she has grit and 100 percent confidence, and that carries on to every single one of us. She leads the team very well, and yeah, like just 100 percent confidence every single game, I think, in this tournament.
Q. Taran, in that fourth inning you started with five balls and walked the lead-off and then Coach Roberts came out and talked to you. What did you guys talk to?
TARAN ALVELO: Basically he just said we need this one, kind of — like we say, one pitch at a time, but really I have to emphasize that a little bit more because if I focus on the fact that I just threw five pitches, the next one is going to be a ball, as well. So he just kind of came out here, he let me take a deep breath, and he's like, we need this, bear down and do it. So that's what I had to do.
Q. Ali, what was your plan for that last at-bat? Were you processing the information from what you had seen?
ALI AGUILAR: Yeah, I think every at-bat you kind of gain more information, and obviously I've faced her a lot of times, but I was just trying to stick to a plan, stick to an approach. I knew Taran (Alvelo) had been throwing lights out and she'd been going all game, and so I went up to her, and I was like, I got your back, and I was really just trying to get a base hit and get on base for her, and ended up going out, so it worked well.
Q. Taran, you guys face Florida tomorrow. I know it's one game at a time, but if called upon, can you throw two?
TARAN ALVELO: I mean, take one pitch at a time. We're going to have to do at this point what we have to do. Everybody has to be all in. I believe in every single person on this team to make tomorrow happen. I think, yeah, I could, but I also know that the other pitchers on our pitching staff are just as capable to really take care of business tomorrow.
Game 8: Oregon 7, Baylor 4
- No. 3 seed Oregon held off No. 15 seed Baylor as the Ducks topped the Lady Bears 7-4 on Saturday in an elimination game. The Ducks jumped out to a 5-0 lead before holding off a late charge by Baylor.
- Oregon advances to play in an elimination game on Saturday night in Session 5. First pitch will be 30 minutes after the conclusion of the UCLA-Washington game. Baylor finishes its season with a 45-16 record.
- The Ducks improved to 5-9 all-time at the WCWS, while Baylor fell to 5-8. Saturday’s game was the first meeting between Oregon and Baylor at the Women’s College World Series.
- Oregon struck first as Sammie Puentes scored on a wild pitch from Baylor starter Gia Rodoni to put the Ducks on the board. Jenna Lilley followed with a one-out double to plate Lauren Lindavall and extend Oregon’s lead to 2-0.
- The Ducks added a pair of runs in the top of the third inning with a Mia Camuso two-out double, pushing Oregon’s lead to 4-0. After a leadoff single from Alexis Mack to begin the fifth, the Ducks added another run as Shannon Rhodes’ two-out single to left put Oregon up 5-0.
- Baylor rallied four runs to cut Oregon’s lead down to one run. Taylor Ellis scored the Lady Bears’ first run of the game, scoring on an error by Oregon’s Lilley. After a RBI groundout from Lindsey Cargilll made it 5-2, Baylor’s Kyla Walker and Shelby Friudenberg recorded RBI singles to trim the deficit down to one.
- With the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, the Ducks added two insurance runs as Camuso recorded her second double of the game to drive in Mack and Nikki Udria.
- Camuso tied her career high with four RBIs, finishing 2-for-4 with two doubles. Lilley was 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and a triple. Udria finished with two hits and two runs scored for the Ducks, while Mack scored three times and added two hits.
- Miranda Elish (12-0) threw 5.0 innings in her 16th start of the year. The freshman allowed four runs on three hits, while walking two and striking out two. After Maggie Baliant, who worked one inning in relief, left the game with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, the Ducks turned to Megan Kleist to close the game. Kleist retired three Baylor’s 2-3-4 hitters in order to earn her second save of the season.
- Rodoni (18-4) lasted 2.2 innings in the circle for Baylor and gave up four runs on six hits in her shortest outing since March 5 versus UCLA. Kelsee Selman threw 4.1 innings in relief, allowing three runs (two earned) and five hits, while striking out two.
- Walker led the Lady Bears at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, scoring a run and finishing with one RBI. Walker finishes the season with Baylor’s single-season record for base hits (88).
- Saturday’s loss marked the first time Baylor finished 0-2 at the WCWS during its four appearances in Oklahoma City.
- Attendance for Session 4 was 8,696. The Baylor-Oregon game was delayed for one hour and 13 minutes due to heavy rain. The game was stopped at 2:39 p.m. CT and resumed at 3:52 p.m. CT.
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