Game 3: Arizona State 3, Oklahoma 1
- No. 1 seed Arizona State (56-6) won its sixth straight game in this year’s NCAA tournament as it defeated No. 9 seed Oklahoma (43-18), 3-1.
- Arizona State improved to 12-14 all-time in the WCWS (ninth appearance). ASU improved to 8-6 at the WCWS and to 32-9 in the NCAA tournament under head coach Clint Myers.
- Arizona State also improved to 48-2 this year when scoring first.
- ASU’s Mandy Urfer hit a two-run single in the fourth inning to give her team a 2-0 lead. Urfer improved to 13-for-20 with a runner on third and less than two outs this season.
- Arizona State’s Katelyn Boyd hit her 18th home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth inning to boost the Sun Devils’ lead to 3-1. Boyd paces the team in 14 offensive categories this year, including home runs (18), runs scored (77) and hits (77).
- Arizona State freshman pitcher Dallas Escobedo improved to 33-3 with the win, giving up five hits and one run while striking out six batters in her WCWS debut.
- Oklahoma fell to 7-9 all-time in the WCWS (sixth appearance) and to 57-34 all-time in the NCAA tournament.
- Oklahoma’s Haley Nix hit an RBI double high off the right field fence in the top of the fifth to cut ASU’s lead to 2-1. Nix’s RBI was her 49th of the season and her sixth in this year’s NCAA tournament.
- Nix accounted for three of OU’s five hits against the Sun Devils, going a perfect 3-for-3 on the day.
- OU sophomore pitcher Keilani Ricketts fell to 29-14 on the year after surrendering six hits and three walks while striking out four in 6.0 innings of work.
ARIZONA STATE HEAD COACH CLINT MYERS
“We’re awfully excited about the win. We played a very good Oklahoma softball team; well-coached, well-disciplined. (Keilani) Ricketts did a great job out there. Again, I can’t say enough how proud I am with the young ladies. It’s not just these three (up here with me) that had great games tonight, but the entire team. I am really proud of all of them.”
On Arizona State’s defense tonight and his thoughts on the sixth-inning double play:
“Our defense has been outstanding all year long. I can’t tell you how how hard we worked about doing all these things. It’s an outstanding defense. Again, you reap your rewards from the hard work you put into it. Krista (Donnenwirth) is an outstanding third baseman. I’ve been coaching 35 years, both men and women, and Krista Donnenwirth is the best third baseman I’ve ever coached. She does more things with what she has with her angles of release – she’s just an outstanding third baseman. And, I was real happy about the double play.”
ARIZONA STATE JUNIOR SHORTSTOP KATELYN BOYD
On her leadoff home run in the fifth inning:
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a hit in the World Series – that was my first time so that was pretty cool. I know they had scored the inning before that and I was actually thinking of bunting – any way I could get on base. I just told myself anything over the plate, because I didn’t want to have to face her dirty drop ball. Sure enough, it was right there.”
On the pitch she hit for a homer and on if she had a different mindset going into the at-bat:
“It was something fast – probably her curve. It didn’t drop so it was probably her curve. No, I didn’t change my mindset at all. I wanted to be aggressive.”
ARIZONA STATE FRESHMAN PITCHER DALLAS ESCOBEDO:
On if Oklahoma seemed deflated after Katelyn Boyd’s home run:
“I really did not sense that at all. I knew that they would come on 10 times harder, 10 times stronger when trying to hit it just to make something happen because they were down. I really had to focus extra in that inning to really place my pitches in a right spot to make them hit it to get them out because I know the defense behind me is unstoppable. They’re unbreakable.”
On trying to stay calm:
“When they did get on and get their hits I tensed up a little bit and Urf (Mandy Urfer) over here at first was like, ‘We’ve got a lead, we’re (up) 2-1, it’s fine.’ She calms me down and I listen to her because she’s been here; she knows. I was just relaxing and breathing more and focusing on my next pitches to stay on the corners and get them out.”
On tensing up in the circle:
“I just tense up because I was always on a team that would never score a lot of runs but now I am. I haven’t really taken that in. I really have to learn to have more and more confidence, which I have learned to have in my team.”
ARIZONA STATE SENIOR FIRST BASEMAN MANDY URFER
On making adjustments against OU pitcher Keilani Ricketts:
“My first at bat I was a little out in front, didn’t really realize the speed at which she was throwing. I knew in my second at bat I just needed to be calm and smooth and ended up seeing the ball pretty well. It was just a nice easy swing was the key to that success. I think more towards the end of the game we started seeing her pitches a little better and not swinging at her balls as much, so that’s what was successful for us.”
OKLAHOMA HEAD COACH PATTY GASSO
“I thought it was a hard-fought game. We came out ready to play, as did Arizona State. We knew it was going to be a battle. They are just a tremendous team. Defensively, offensively, pitching – they are a complete team. I felt like we could play with them. We kept talking about winning each inning, winning each round; the first three rounds we felt like we won. They capitalized on a couple of walks, had some timely hits and I know Keilani (Ricketts) wishes she could have some of those back, but that’s the tough environment that we’re in, that we’re learning about. We sat together after the game, talked about what we would do different and how would we do it different. We need to take this opportunity and learn from it. It’s been a while and we’ve got young players so we’re not going to ignore it. We’re going to talk about it and we’re going to fix it. Fix it in a way that is going to help us come out and stay in this tournament from Saturday until as long as we can in hopes we can get playing on Monday and Tuesday. It’s going to be a long road but we’ve talked about how we would have the best chance in doing that. I thought offensively, we battled pretty well. We had six strikeouts; I think that’s probably low for (Dallas) Escobedo. The problem is we were putting balls in the air too much. We needed to work that angle down and get that ball down on the ground and just needed a couple timely opportunities. The story of our season is what you saw with Haley Nix, a ball two inches from tying the ball game. We’ve been in those positions before, seems like we never get that one big one. We do every once in a while but when we’re dying for it the most it’s just two inches short. I’m proud of this team and the effort they put forth. We’re going to work very hard to stay in this tournament as long as we can.”
On it being a game of inches and on the team’s approach going into the weekend:
“We’ve already had that talk. They made it clear – they don’t want to hear me anymore. They know what they need to do. We had some tough luck tonight. Destinee Martinez hit the ball hard all night down the third base line. Krista Donnenwirth is a fantastic third baseman. They’ve got a lot of experience and you can feel it when you’re playing them; they have a lot of poise. (Katelyn) Boyd is just a stud, offensively and defensively. We didn’t get a lot of breaks. One thing I really liked was Katie Norris and what she did in the seventh was give us a base runner. We said we have one more opportunity at bat, one more chance to get someone on base, get the tying run to the plate. Just do whatever you can. Those are the responses you want when you’re in big games like this, in settings like this. There are some really good things that happened – although we didn’t get the win – and there are some things we need to make changes with.”
On Jessica Shults’ presence in the dugout:
“The dugout sounds different because she’s got some energy. It looks different but it’s good to see her there. It’s hard to see her there because I knew her heart is dying because she wants to help this team, so it’s bittersweet. It’s wonderful to have her there but she’s just not ready to come out and do anything to help us. We’re not going to put her in that position until she says it, the doctors say it. Just to have her healthier and standing with us is a victory, we’re so pleased with that.”
OKLAHOMA SENIOR RIGHT FIELDER HALEY NIX
On her near home run:
“I wasn’t really sure. I knew I popped it up a little bit but I wasn’t sure so I was just running. Then it fell a little short. That’s just the way it goes.”
OKLAHOMA SOPHOMORE PITCHER KELANI RICKETTS
On Arizona State:
”ASU is a great hitting team. They definitely executed when I missed my spots and executed when they had runners in scoring positions.”
On Jessica Shults’ presence in the dugout:
“It’s heartwarming to have her there with us. We felt like there was a piece missing when she was gone. She’s still kind of gone because she can’t play. But it’s great to have a leader back in the dugout.”