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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 youre the first player or youre 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 Ive 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 well get a day like yesterday where well get a lot of hits. Im 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. Shes not a catcher, shes an infielder and shes been learning along the way and shes 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 Directors 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 youre 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. Hes a brethren in the profession, we all try to do the right things, we are teachers 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 thats the way it is.

 

I think its easier to make that decision once you make it. You do whats right and wrong and there are ethics and morals. Theres 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 cant blame the guy. Hes a pretty smart guy.

 

On conversation with Sara being that simple: Pretty much. Its been like that all year long. What you see out there is what you get. She doesnt make any bones about it. What more, am I going to say once she says that she has it? Its good trust between coaches and players. This wasnt our first test, this is our 59th test, so my 59 times with them in competition Im beginning to learn them a little bit and they learn me. The T word of trust is a huge factor. Shes honest, if she doesnt have it shell tell you. There are times when shell tell me Coach, I dont have it right now. Sometimes its very tough for a young woman to say that to a coach but with Sara she has been very truthful and honest.

 

On where Saras 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 yall hear the word dont before the time youre two years old. We dont use the word dont, we use the word avoid. I think from day one with us, Im hoping that we have instilled that, but today we saw that fruition occur.

 

On the teams 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 wasnt evident today, then I dont know when it could be. There were two 1-0 ball games in this regional, the way its 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 dont 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 thats 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 were 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 were not going to host, there is no other place wed 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. Its like our second home, maybe they dont 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, thats great, just another feather in the cap of the University of South Florida. We just have to take care of business. If youre going to ask me to look forward to next weekend, Im going to tell you, practice is tomorrow at one oclock 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: Its a nice win, but its just another win. Were not done. Were going to keep playing hard and yes this is a big win and this was a big region but were going to keep playing hard and keep on winning.

 

USF Sophomore Pitcher Sara Nevins

On when the bases where loaded: I guess since Im emotionless thats 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 Im glad he does. So I just did what he said and stayed calm.

 

On her weekend performance: I cant do it without my team, they give me a lot of support on and off the field. Im 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 theyre 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 dont 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, its sad when you lose, but its more sad that well lose No. 16, Michelle Moultrie. Its a great ending to her career here. Not only is it a great story, shes 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 dont score runs, youre not going to win many ball games. I thought we played well; we showed a lot of intensity and fought hard. Obviously youre not going to win a whole lot of ball games when youre striking out 12 times, but in the sixth inning we had the bases loaded and no outs we had an opportunity and thats 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. Im 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 werent 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, shes left-handed, shes tall, she changes speed enough, but the one thing that you can tell is that the ball she throws is heavy. Its very hard to elevate, very hard to lift, very hard to spin she throws a heavy ball. Shes a good competitor with the bases loaded and no outs, shes 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 its lowest with bases loaded, and thats 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, its all about your team, its all about the program, its all about the University of Florida and the Gators. Im not going to say too many words, but thats all it is about. Its all about our Gators. I think that is the most important part about being the leader of this team its all about the Gators.

 

On Michelle Moultries 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 didnt get bases loaded in the sixth. I thought about that she doesnt think about that stuff, but I do. I try to have our players understand that everyday could be your last day; its 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, its 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 doesnt mean that were not good now; it just means that we werent fortunate enough to come through at the end and get the big hits that we needed to. Itll hurt. Im 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 dont 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 dont know if we would have won Friday night either. We had two good pitchers that pitched well. I dont think its about three people. I think its 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 dont 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 were bringing five kids that have already signed with us. Were excited about the opportunity to keep getting better. Thats the goal no matter where youre 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. Thats 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 didnt do was maybe put Hannah Rogers up there.

 

On this weekend being a lesson for a young team: Its a lesson for everybody its a lesson for me as a parent, a lesson for me as a coach, its 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, its all about the Gators and the brand that Jeremy Foley has created what we have done, what were 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 dont 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: Its a sad way to go out. Its 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. Shes 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 didnt come through, but everyone was up there battling. Nobody was scared; everybody gave it their all and thats all that you can ask for.

 

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

 

 

On the distraction of losing three teammates: It was definitely a distraction for me. Im not saying that it took away from how I played it didnt have any affect there. Its a big part of our team. It was hard for me; I cant really speak for anybody else. Im really close to those girls, and its a hard thing whenever you lose anyone.

 

On her last game in the Orange and Blue: I dont think that I was too hung up on that that this could be my last day. Its a sad thing for me. I dont get too hung up on the fact that its 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 Im not really sure after that.

 

Florida Junior Catcher Kelsey Horton

On remembering the season: Im 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. Ill remember it as a good year. It didnt end the way that we wanted it too, but Ill look back and smile.

 

On the team dynamic after losing three players: We have great infielders all the way around whether its 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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