Game 1: Alabama 1, California 0
- In the first game of the 2011 Women’s College World Series, No. 2 seed Alabama (52-9) defeated No. 7 seed California (44-12), 1-0.
- Alabama won in the WCWS’ lowest scoring game in the last 15 contests. The last time two teams combined for one run was on May 29, 2009, when Florida beat Michigan in game six.
- The Crimson Tide won its opening game of the WCWS for the first time in program history. Alabama improved to 1-6 in first-round WCWS action, to 7-12 in the WCWS and to 53-26 in the NCAA tournament.
- Alabama freshman Kaila Hunt hit an RBI single in the second inning to plate the game’s only run. It was Hunt’s 36th RBI of the year and her fifth in the NCAA tournament.
- Alabama pitcher Kelsi Dunne improved to 28-4 this season with the win. Dunne, who gave up just one hit and one walk, struck out 11 batters, marking the 15th time this season and third time this NCAA tournament she recorded 10 or more strikeouts.
- With her 11 strikeouts, Dunne moved into 24th place on the NCAA career strikeouts list with 1,208. Dunne entered the game in 27th place with 1,197 strikeouts.
- Alabama’s Jackie Traina earned her third career save. The freshman struck out two batters in 1.0 inning of work and has not allowed a hit in her 11.1 innings this postseason.
- Cal pitcher Jolene Henderson surrendered seven hits and a walk while striking out nine in her 6.0 innings. Henderson has 46 strikeouts in 43 innings of postseason work this year.
- The Golden Bears fell to 18-19 all-time in the WCWS. This year marks their 11th appearance in the event.
ALABAMA HEAD COACH PATRICK MURPHY
“That’s a big ’ole monkey off our back. It’s a long time coming. It was a great win. In the World Series and postseason you have to have great pitching and great defense, and you have to come up with a timely hit and today we got all three. You’ve got the pitcher, the great defense and the timely hit by the freshman [Kaila Hunt] with two outs and a runner on third, and that’s a recipe for success in postseason.”
On putting his faith in freshman pitcher Jackie Traina in the seventh inning:
“Being a freshman is a good thing in my mind because sometimes I think she doesn’t really have an idea of what is going on, which is good. She goes out and throws hard, plays and loves the game. I think she really wants to do it for her seniors and her teammates. She’s a teammate to begin with. She is a great person. She didn’t care if she got thrown in there last minute or at the start. She is not a ‘me’ player, she is a team player. She just goes out, throws gas and gets people out.”
On how pitcher Kelsi Dunne giving up just one hit in six innings of work:
“I didn’t realize we had 13 strikeouts, either; that was a surprise. Kelsi was awesome. (Assistant coach) Vann (Stuedeman) called a really good game. I mean she hit her spots for the most part. I think after the first couple of innings she was just feeling it out, and then after that I thought she was lights out. Then Jackie (Traina) came in and did what she was supposed to do; she threw strikes. Struck out two of the three. I mean that was a very good pitching performance.”
On the decision to bring in Jackie Traina in the seventh and his decision to go wild on the bases:
“The first hitter that Traina faced was the player that had one hit (Brit Vonk). So that was one of the reasons. All of the coaches and I had talked about it and we were all in agreement. I know it’s like, ‘she is throwing a one hitter she is doing a great job,’ but we just wanted to seal it down. On going wild on the bases, just had it in my head and we had talked about it a lot in practice that we were going to force people to make plays. And for the most part it worked.”
ALABAMA SENIOR SHORTSTOP WHITNEY LARSEN
On Alabama’s approach against pitcher Jolene Henderson:
“With Jolene we knew she was a very good pitcher. She has an outstanding ERA and win-loss record. First off, we just wanted to put the ball in play. She throws very hard, so we needed to get our timing down and be prepared for the off speed pitch that she throws. I thought she pitched a great game. As Coach Murphy said, though, we were able to get that timely hit and that’s what we needed.”
ALABAMA SENIOR PITCHER KELSI DUNNE
On how it fires her up to score early and how she felt pitching today:
“Definitely exciting to score early. One of the things we like to do is jump out and be aggressive and score first. Like Whitney (Larsen) said, we knew she (Jolene Henderson) was a great pitcher. I mean I think she has the best ERA in the country. We just had a plan to mix it up. Mix up speed and go up and down. Thankfully it kept them off balance and we got the W.”
ALABAMA FRESHMAN SECOND BASEMAN KAILA HUNT
On feeling pressure to drive in a run with two outs in the second inning:
“Of course I felt pressure. It was my first time. This is a huge stage. I mean this is a dream come true for anybody. All week we had talked about not talking this game up. It’s just another game that we are playing, just on a bigger stage. We talked about being fearless, not being afraid of anybody. Of course I had some butterflies going up there, but I got them flying in the right direction as we like to say.”
CALIFORNIA HEAD COACH DIANE NINEMIRE
“I thought that was an old-fashioned softball game, 1-0, something we usually don’t get to see a lot of. It was a great pitching duel between two great pitchers. Unfortunately, we fell on the short side of it, but Kelsi Dunne did a great job keeping our batters off-balance. Jolene (Henderson) threw a great game but unfortunately (we) couldn’t come up with a timely hit.”
On Alabama’s speed:
“They put their pinch runners in and they were able to advance on us a little bit and caught us on our heels a little bit. But we got out of some of those situations and it didn’t really affect the game. It was just one inning where they stole a base and got a timely hit, so that was all there was.”
On Cal’s overall offensive performance:
“I give her (Kelsi Dunne) a lot of credit because she was moving the ball around nicely against us and keeping us off-balance. I think our hitters were not aggressive; they were getting behind in the count. She was going upstairs and we were swinging at pitches out of the zone. We need to split the plate in half and zone down, and be a little bit more aggressive at the plate. Hopefully we can come out Saturday and get back to where we know we can be.”
On Alabama replacing pitcher Kelsi Dunne with Jackie Traina for the seventh inning:
“She definitely throws a lot harder. I don’t know that her ball moves as much as Dunne’s, but we only got to see three at-bats. I thought Jace (Williams) put a good hit on that ball down the third base line and the third baseman made a good stop, but she’s a great pitcher, as well.”
CALIFORNIA SOPHOMORE PITCHER JOLENE HENDERSON
On second-inning jam:
“I always have confidence in my team that we’re going to get out of any inning, regardless of how many people are on base because we have gotten out of plenty in the past. It was a good hit, a good pitch; not really a hittable pitch but in hindsight I should have thrown something different. But things happen.”
On Alabama’s speed:
“I think they did a good job stealing bases; they stole three in that game. I was really proud of our catcher (Lindsey Ziegenhirt) because after it had already happened three times she came up and threw out the best stealer on their team, which I think pumped our team up a little bit. But we still didn’t get hitting or anything. I think it will get our confidence up for the next game that we’re going to play.”
On moving forward through the tournament despite the loss:
“I think our approach is going to change a little bit because we are in the losers’ bracket, but I think it will only make us better because we’re going to be a stronger team when you have to win, when you have nothing else but to win. It pushes you harder to want to get those hits, to want to keep going. I know I will pitch better, I know my defense will play amazing defense, our hitters will come out more aggressive because they want it and we all want it. I have a lot of confidence in my team.”