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2013 NCAA Softball Championship

Gainesville Super Regional

Florida 1, UAB 0

Coach and Player Quotes

May 26, 2013

 

Game Recap

The Gators defeated UAB 1-0 in the second game of the Super Regionals to advance to the Women’s College World Series. Sophomore Taylor Schwarz drove in the winning run in the top of the fourth inning in her only hit of the day. It was the only run Florida would need as pitcher Hannah Rogers only allowed four hits on the day and no runs. Strong defense closed out the game for UF when second baseman Kelsey Stewart knocked down a hit up the middle to throw out the runner coming home and clinch the win.

 

Florida Head Coach Tim Walton

Opening Statement

“First off, congratulations to UAB on a record-setting season they had. They are a great team and, obviously, a great clutch hitting team. They have great pitching. That’s one of the best staffs we’ve seen all year long. I really like their coach’s aggressive style. I really thought they came in and stuck to their game plan and really got after it. I’m proud of our team and proud of our fans for being there for us throughout the whole weekend again like they always are. It’s nice to come up here to these press conferences and look up and see new faces every single time I come up here and that just tells you the story of our team. Everybody is contributing to our team through the wins and the losses. We’s just done a good job of believing in each other and our practices have been methodical; sometimes boring because we repeat the same thing over and over again. In the end, I think we were just rewarded for the hard work and the tough practices and preseason we went through with the mental toughness. Just again, really proud of every one of these girls up here. They did a great job for us. What a phenomenal play at the end of the game, but a great clutch hit from (Taylor) Schwarz to get it going for us. In the end, like I said, I’m just really proud. This is a really special moment for me and my family and these players and everybody involved in our program. Just appreciate everybody and all their hard work this season.”

 

On the last play of the game:

“Initially, off the bat, I thought it was going to go up the middle and then I saw the bead that she had and she actually over-dove a little. You see how it hit her on the heel of the glove instead of in the pocket. She got a great jump off the bat and knocked it down. I was just hoping she wouldn’t throw the ball to first base because there was no chance of getting her at first. As she came up to her knees, she looked right at the plate and honestly, she threw her out by a lot, but it’s a closer play than it looks like because if she hesitates or does the wrong thing, then they have a run. I’m really proud of her for being heads-up and come looking for that out.”

 

On if that’s an aggressive play that he would make

“Absolutely. I don’t see anything wrong with that. I wasn’t in the third-base coaching box, so it’s hard for me to know. I’ve had plays end the same way. I’ve had people throw out at the plate and in the same manner before. I wouldn’t blow it out of proportion just being the magnitude of this type of game. I applaud her effort for trying to find a way to get a run in there. How many hits is Hannah (Rogers) going to give up in a row? To be honest. It forced her to make a perfect play and, obviously, we did.”

 

Florida Sophomore 1B Taylor Schwarz

On hit to bring in the winning run today

“I just have to give the glory to God and my team because I wouldn’t have been in that position without the support of my team.”

 

On getting the big hit

“I know we only scored one run but all game we were moving runners, we were getting bunts down, Katie Medina got two bunts down today, that’s huge if you think about it. My hit was just a clutch hit and it happened to be the only run we scored today, but with my team’s help, that’s why I got it done.”

 

On team chemistry

“I think no matter where we are or what we are doing it’s like a family thing. Ever since we (freshman) first got here, they welcomed us in.”

 

On what ’16 Strong’ means

“When we say (16 strong) to me, It’s just comforting because I know these girls have my back. 16 strong is just really bringing us all together and it helps us stay confident in each other and we know that we have each other’s back.”

 

Florida Senior RF Kelsey Horton

On Kelsey Stewart’s play to end the game

“I think we were just really prepared and we had a lot of confidence in Kelsey. Obviously we didn’t know she was going to round third but she’s just a heads up player and I’m really proud of her for coming up and throwing on her knees like that.”

 

On advancing to the Women’s College World Series

“I’m just really excited, it’s the biggest stage you can play softball on. It’s just really exciting and I’m so happy I get to experience it with the 16 girls around me.”

 

Florida Freshman 2B Kelsey Stewart

On the last play

“Every day in practice we go through ‘game-winners’ and Katie (Medina) and I went up to each other and said ‘game-winners.’ Coach (Walton) always hits balls at us like that in practice. Actually, I never doubted the ball was going to get through, so I was just laying my body out there, trying to get the ball stopped.”

 

On if she was surprised the runner made the turn from third

“I actually thought she thought I was going to go to one, I would have gone there too. I saw her hit third and keep running, so I just got on my knees and threw the ball.”

 

On if they talked about going to the College World Series as a team

“We haven’t talked about it. It has been a forbidden word. We just wanted to take it every inning at a time and every game at a time. Now with the feeling, I’m really excited. It’s really surreal. I have to keep reminding myself, we’re going to the Women’s College World Series. With this team, there is no doubt that I’m really glad I’m going with these 16 girls.”

 

 

UAB Head Coach Marla Townsend

Opening Statement

“Well first of all, it has been an honor to play here. Everybody from the state of Florida, from the hotel to the administration and support staff here has been tremendous to us. It is just awesome because when you go places, especially your conference schools and it is so competitive you don’t always get that. So I think the world of people wearing blue and orange and I appreciate everything that they have done to make us feel welcome, including people in the stands. I felt that, obviously our goal was to come out today and play two games. In that first game we did not get off to the start that we normally do. It was a slow start and so I challenged the girls in the middle innings and then Kate (Armstrong) came up with that big hit to the right side. In fact, with Kate and Lauren Webster’s big hits to the ride side and no outs we have to move those runners. We have to manufacture runs and we failed to do so. Obviously Anna Kimbrell’s hit at the end, where she got three balls and I gave her the green light and she took a strike then saw a pitch that she liked and hit it off the top of the wall. That right there shows a fight and once again the relentless mindset of these ladies. That is probably what I will remember about this game. Then you have Lauren Webster coming up, if you haven’t noticed she’s not hit too often this year and she came in with the big hit to the right side and then had that ball hit up the middle that the second baseman did an outstanding job of keeping it in the dirt. Obviously when I have the senior Hailey Glynn rounding third I am going to make them make a play. We had a hard time scoring and I am going to have a play at the plate. They are going to have to throw, catch and put a tag on at the plate versus relying on a hitter coming through when Rogers was doing an outstanding job. That is something that some of my athletes may not understand, but I promise you I would do it again and we want that tying run. We want to go into extra innings. We have a lot of experience this season with extra innings and I feel like if we can do that the momentum is headed our way. So just very pleased. I thought the pitchers did an outstanding job. Lauren Webster threw her heart out and really made some good adjustments up there and then Lannah Campbell came in and even after they saw her so many innings yesterday I felt like she still kept them guessing and did a great job. They really compliment each other. I am proud of the athletes, the way that they came out here and left it on the field.”

 

 

On what this kind of exposure on a national stage means for the program going forward

“I say that the selection, when they chose us to go to Louisville, I knew right then that this was and opportunity we had to make some noise. We had been to three straight regionals and maybe call it contentment or maybe didn’t execute, but we were not content this time. With the opening up of both UCLA and Louisville hitting homeruns in the first inning, the pitchers could have made a choice to just lay back and fold but they didn’t. They kept battling, so I felt that that region made us strong and made us better. Then I saw that we were matched up with Florida that was exciting because we want to see where we are against the top teams in the country. We have Alabama 45 minutes down the road from us. We have matchups with them on a regular basis, but to come and play somebody like Florida that we have not played before in this outstanding atmosphere just says so much about this team but about softball. We are privileged to be a part of it.”

 

 

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