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2012 NCAA Softball Championship

Gainesville Regional

USF 1, Florida 0

Coach and Player Quotes

May 20, 2012



Game Recap

USF used a Kenshyra Jackson RBI in the top of the fourth inning and an impressive complete-game, five-hit, 12-strikeout performance from pitcher Sara Nevins to capture the Gainesville Regional with a 1-0 win over Florida Sunday.


The Bulls advance to host Hofstra in Super Regional action, while the Gators finish their 2012 season with at 48-13 overall. 


USF Head Coach Ken Eriksen

Opening Statement

“First of all, I thought that Coach Walton did his best coaching this year, under the situations with a brand new team and, obviously, the distractions that could have gone on this weekend. When you put on the University of Florida uniform, whether you’re the first player or you’re the 16th or 18th player, you can play. That team that was on the field this weekend, they were phenomenal in representing the University and representing Coach Walton and the athletics directors Mr. Foley and Lynda Tealer.


“We have a cool cat right here. I walked out to the mound with the bases loaded and pretty much she looked at me and said, ‘I got it.’ So that makes it easy and a lot easier for me to sleep at night when you have someone cool out there. The first thing about us this year, we walked into the locker room and we knew that there was a difference right away because if we could win in the locker room then we could win in the ball field. We might not be the most offensive team, but we might be the most together team that I’ve ever coached. Everyone understands their roles and know how were going to be successful: with defense, pitching, trying to keep them at zero as much long as possible and for us to scratch out a run and every once in a while we’ll get a day like yesterday where we’ll get a lot of hits. I’m really proud of way my team stepped up in leadership roles. I think if you take a look back at last year when Laura went behind the plate, it makes a big difference when you have someone out there with that heart and the skills. She’s not a catcher, she’s an infielder and she’s been learning along the way and she’s done a phenomenal job. Once again, hats off to the University of Florida for a great year and Coach Walton did his best coaching in my opinion.”


On tough decision making: “The nice part about the college coaches that coach in America is that they are hired by Athletic Director’s and administrators with background checks on character, how their mother and fathers raised them and those types of things. I have been in that position before where you have had to make that decision. In 2008 we suspended 13 players. We had nine players eligible and luckily one of them was a pitcher and we went out and played. There are things that are the right thing to do and you have to set a standard for your team and you have to stick to your guns. I have tremendous support in knowing that if I make that decision, I am going to get backed by my administration and Coach Walton obviously has that backing, also. If you’re asking me from the aspect of how tough it is – it is very tough because people are involved. But, I trust the fact that the right decision was made. He’s a brethren in the profession, we all try to do the right things, we are teacher’s at heart, and coaches secondary. You have to


make the decisions long term that benefit not only the team but your university and I applaud Florida for making that decision at this tough time. We had to do it opening day a couple years back but that’s the way it is.”


“I think it’s easier to make that decision once you make it. You do what’s right and wrong and there are ethics and morals. There’s a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning and I get that. If you stick to your guns about what Sunday mornings about and you know what is right or wrong. Abraham Lincoln had it right, you have to abide by what is right or wrong and I can’t blame the guy. He’s a pretty smart guy.”


On conversation with Sara being that simple: “Pretty much. It’s been like that all year long. What you see out there is what you get. She doesn’t make any bones about it. What more, am I going to say once she says that she has it? It’s good trust between coaches and players. This wasn’t our first test, this is our 59th test, so my 59 times with them in competition I’m beginning to learn them a little bit and they learn me. The ‘T’ word of trust is a huge factor. She’s honest, if she doesn’t have it she’ll tell you. There are times when she’ll tell me ‘Coach, I don’t have it right now.’ Sometimes it’s very tough for a young woman to say that to a coach but with Sara she has been very truthful and honest.”


On where Sara’s confidence comes from: “I think it comes from the trust right from day one. So many of our athletes come up with negative backgrounds. How many times did y’all hear the word don’t before the time you’re two years old.  We don’t use the word don’t, we use the word avoid. I think from day one with us, I’m hoping that we have instilled that, but today we saw that fruition occur.”


On the team’s performance this weekend: “I told my team all year long, if you worry about the little things, you take care of the sixty feet down the first base line, the score board will take care of herself. If that wasn’t evident today, then I don’t know when it could be. There were two 1-0 ball games in this regional, the way it’s supposed to be played. UCF and Florida Gulf Coast are great teams but today, I thought the two best teams in the state of Florida played each other and we just happened to be lucky enough to get great balance and great pitching and ended up on top.”


On the road to get to this point: “I wore the same pants three days in a row, I don’t know. They played great. We talked about it earlier in the week – the team that is going to play the most flawless, the team that is going to get a bounce here and there, the team that’s going to stay the healthiest on and off the field is going to be the team that is going to be on the podium at the end of the day – we’re lucky enough to be that team right now.”


On going to Super Regionals: “We earned it. We earned the aspect of being the No. 2 seed here. We were just outside the bubble of hosting this weekend. If we’re not going to host, there is no other place we’d want to host than the University of Florida.  Facilities are good, administration is great, hospitality is great, they make you feel like a champion from the time you come in. I have been coming here since the beginning of the program. It’s like our second home, maybe they don’t want to here that but the aspect of letting our fans travel in-state is huge. To earn the right to possibly host next weekend, that’s great, just another feather in the cap of the University of South Florida. We just have to take care of business. If you’re going to ask me to look forward to next weekend, I’m going to tell you, practice is tomorrow at one o’clock and you can be there if you want to.”






USF Sophomore First Baseman Stephanie Medina

On the lead-off double: “My at bat before that, I was seeing her, but I ended up striking out. I came in that at-bat knowing that I was seeing her, and I knew she would give me a pitch to hit. I came in hacking and that was my mentality coming in.”


On beating Florida: “It’s a nice win, but it’s just another win. We’re not done. We’re going to keep playing hard and yes this is a big win and this was a big region but we’re going to keep playing hard and keep on winning.”


USF Sophomore Pitcher Sara Nevins

On when the bases where loaded: “I guess since I’m emotionless that’s really good, especially with the crowd being that loud. I try not to let things phase me. My stomach was tossing a little bit, but I try not to show anything. I hit my spots so if the ball is hit my defense could definitely get the outs.”


On the conversation with coach and if she was surprised it was so short: “Not at all, he has a lot of confidence in me and I’m glad he does. So I just did what he said and stayed calm.”


On her weekend performance: “I can’t do it without my team, they give me a lot of support on and off the field. I’m glad we had a lot of heart throughout the game and I knew we would come through.”


On how she shut down Florida: “Just keeping them off balance with a change up. That worked a lot and then just jamming them up inside and my teammates were in good position to get outs.”


On knocking off Florida: “We have done it before. We play every team like they are number one no matter what team they are. Even if they’re not ranked, we play them like they are the number one team and things will just happen.”


On going to the College World Series: “We don’t really think about it. We just work at it one day at a time, starting with practice tomorrow.”


Florida Head Coach Tim Walton

Opening Statement: “First of all, congratulations to USF on a great Regional run and a great season so far. It was a heck of a game, a really good competition against two good teams. I am proud of the way we fought and how we handled our business. We put up a good fight today.


“Obviously, it’s sad when you lose, but it’s more sad that we’ll lose No. 16, Michelle Moultrie. It’s a great ending to her career here. Not only is it a great story, she’s a great player, a great athlete and obviously a great alumna of the University of Florida.”


On the emotions throughout the weekend: “I thought we played well. But, if you don’t score runs, you’re not going to win many ball games. I thought we played well; we showed a lot of intensity and fought hard. Obviously you’re not going to win a whole lot of ball games when you’re striking out 12 times, but in the sixth inning we had the bases loaded and no outs – we had an opportunity and that’s all you can ask for. We gave up the one run on an infield hit earlier in the game, but you have to score one run anyway. It is what it is.”


On coming out of a bases-loaded, no outs situation without a run: “I think it was a chance, an opportunity. I’m not a mathematician, but I know that the more batters that come to the plate, the more opportunities that the top of my lineup has a chance to bat in the top of the seventh inning. That was the


thing that I was looking at – if we can get them up again, we could have a chance. Obviously we weren’t able to come through with bases loaded, no outs, but we were fighting. Briana Little had a good fight in her bat. She was doing everything that she could to squeak the ball through the infield. I was pleased with the effort.”


On Sara Nevins: “She throws hard, she has a good mix of pitches, she’s left-handed, she’s tall, she changes speed enough, but the one thing that you can tell is that the ball she throws is heavy. It’s very hard to elevate, very hard to lift, very hard to spin – she throws a heavy ball. She’s a good competitor – with the bases loaded and no outs, she’s a sophomore pitcher in Gainesville, Florida, and she stepped up and did what she needed to do.”


On the lack of production with bases-loaded and no outs: “To be honest with you, that stuff right there, with bases loaded and no outs, that was happening all season. That has probably happened at least seven times this year – our team batting average is at it’s lowest with bases loaded, and that’s the one thing I do when I look at our stats. With bases loaded we hit our worst this season. I think that was the exclamation point to this season with a lot of young players putting a lot of pressure on themselves in a situation of bases loaded.”


On the decision-making process: “I think at the end of the day, it’s all about your team, it’s all about the program, it’s all about the University of Florida and the Gators. I’m not going to say too many words, but that’s all it is about. It’s all about our Gators. I think that is the most important part about being the leader of this team – it’s all about the Gators.”


On Michelle Moultrie’s last at-bat: “It was disappointing, especially right after she got a base hit – and that could have been her last at-bat if we didn’t get bases loaded in the sixth. I thought about that – she doesn’t think about that stuff, but I do. I try to have our players understand that everyday could be your last day; it’s not just being a senior. You have to go out there, put forth your best effort and never leave anything behind. I give her that; she gave everything she had today. She was inches away of having her most spectacular catch of the season. She gives it her all, all the time.”


On four consecutive College World Series appearances: “Four years in a row at the College World Series, it’s a difficult task. I think we were the only ones in that position when we were there last year. The consecutive streak to go to the World Series just tells you how good you are in multiple years of recruiting, and multiple years of your classes. It doesn’t mean that we’re not good now; it just means that we weren’t fortunate enough to come through at the end and get the big hits that we needed to. It’ll hurt. I’m sure it will be one of those times when you look at it on TV, and see what you could have done and wonder how it could have gone your way. However, four years is a consecutive streak that I am very proud of. I am very proud of knowing how many games we have won, but how good those people and players were to be a part of that too.”


On the off season: “I don’t even know where to begin with the off season. We have a lot of things to do, a lot of adjustments to make, a lot of plans to redesign. Hopefully we can get our program back where it needs to be, get all those people back in the stands enjoying us playing softball and hopefully continuing to watch us play softball.”


On the line-up change: “I don’t know if we would have won Friday night either. We had two good pitchers that pitched well. I don’t think it’s about three people. I think it’s about where we are as a team, how we did offensively and what we could do to get the clutch hit. That has been the M.O. of our team all



year long – how to get the clutch hit. I don’t know if we could have done any better with Kelsey Bruder, Francesca Enea and Brittany Schutte healthy to be honest with you.”


On the future of a young team: “I would always like to say that young players are going to continue to get better. Hopefully their swings continue to get better, everything that they do in their game, in the classroom and everything from a maturity standpoint is going to get better. We have a big task ahead of us. Everybody comes back except Michelle Moultrie, and we’re bringing five kids that have already signed with us. We’re excited about the opportunity to keep getting better. That’s the goal no matter where you’re at – you have to keep getting better.”


On adjusting at the plate: “We tried about everything that we could do – we were at the back of the box, in the front of the box, on the plate, getting hit by the ball – do whatever you have to do. We tried every one of them and none of them work. That’s why I said that I think Sara Nevins did a really good job. We tried just about everything. I think the only thing that we didn’t do was maybe put Hannah Rogers up there.”


On this weekend being a lesson for a young team: “It’s a lesson for everybody – it’s a lesson for me as a parent, a lesson for me as a coach, it’s a lesson for our players, our staff and our coaches. At the end of the day, as a coach, I just try to do the best job that I can do possible and gathering everything that I can to be a good leader. I try to be as consistent as possible. There is no question that the game, what you do, how you compete – is a life lesson for everybody. Those that really view it that way, are the ones that will continue to improve – not only in their game, but in life too. There are very important lessons to be learned. Again, I have said it before, it’s all about the Gators and the brand that Jeremy Foley has created – what we have done, what we’re doing and what we are going to do.”


Florida Junior Catcher Brittany Schutte

On coming back from injury in the tournament: “It was nice to come back. I worked all week to come back. I wish that I would have done better, but it was nice to put on my uniform and get back in the lineup.”


On her expectations after making it back in the starting line-up: “It was just to get hits. To be a part of the team, help them out and do whatever I can. I don’t think the goal changed whether or not I was in the lineup – it was to score more runs than the opponent.”


Florida Senior Center Fielder Michelle Moultrie

On ending her career at the University of Florida: “It’s a sad way to go out. It’s been a great four years here. I just have to look back at all the things that have gone right and have been good here. I am proud of my career and just being a part of this program.”


On USF pitcher Sara Nevans: “I thought that she had really good movement. She’s a great pitcher. Congratulations to USF, I hope they do great later on in the tournament.”


On the emotion of the team in the sixth inning with bases loaded and no outs: “We were excited to be in that situation. Unfortunately, it didn’t come through, but everyone was up there battling. Nobody was scared; everybody gave it their all and that’s all that you can ask for.”


On four-straight appearances at the College World Series: “It’s great for our program. It shows that we are really talented. It’s a good accomplishment for us.”



On the distraction of losing three teammates: “It was definitely a distraction for me. I’m not saying that it took away from how I played – it didn’t have any affect there. It’s a big part of our team. It was hard for me; I can’t really speak for anybody else. I’m really close to those girls, and it’s a hard thing whenever you lose anyone.”


On her last game in the Orange and Blue: “I don’t think that I was too hung up on that – that this could be my last day. It’s a sad thing for me. I don’t get too hung up on the fact that it’s over for me. Just looking back on my time here is something to be proud of.


On future plans: “I am playing with the USA Team this summer, and I’m not really sure after that.”


Florida Junior Catcher Kelsey Horton

On remembering the season: “I’m going to remember this season. I feel like I had a great year, and our team had a great year. We played well in the beginning of the year, through the end of the season, SECs and postseason. I’ll remember it as a good year. It didn’t end the way that we wanted it too, but I’ll look back and smile.”


On the team dynamic after losing three players: “We have great infielders all the way around – whether it’s them or Katie Medina. We have people that can play those positions. I felt like we were fine. We still had to go out and work hard. In the end we scored zero runs.”


On the offense: “We only had five hits on the day. I felt confident with the lineup that we had though. Could have, would have, should have.”



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