NCAA WOMEN’S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES
May 30-June 5, 2013
ASA Hall of Fame Stadium
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Game 9: Texas 3, Florida 0
- The ninth game of the 2013 Women’s College World Series saw No. 4 seed Texas defeat No. 2 seed Florida 3-0. The Longhorns improved to 51-9, while the Gators finished their season with a 58-9 record.
- The Longhorns, who are now 2-1 in the WCWS this season, move on to face Tennessee Sunday at 6 p.m. CT. Texas is 7-9 all-time in the WCWS. Florida finished this year’s WCWS at 1-2 and is now 12-11 all-time.
- With the win, Texas narrowed the all-time series record against Florida, and now trails 5-3.
- Texas improved to 34-0 this season when leading after six innings.
- The first and only runs of the game came as Texas senior Kim Bruins sent a three-run home run over the left field fence in the third inning. It was Bruins’ fifth home run of the season. Texas has won all five games in which she has homered. Bruins has hit both of the Longhorns’ home runs in the 2013 WCWS and has accounted for six of the team’s RBIs in the event. Her three RBIs this afternoon marked the most for Texas in a WCWS game. Bruins finished the game 1-for-2 at the plate and walked twice.
- Texas senior pitcher Blaire Luna improved to 32-6 this season with the win. She recorded 14 strikeouts in the game to establish a personal single-season high of 410. Her previous high was 404 in the 2010 season, a mark she passed in the fourth inning. It was her 24th double-digit strikeout game this season and second of the WCWS. From the second inning through the fifth inning, Luna garnered 10 straight outs via strikeout.
- Luna allowed just one hit and walked five batters in the game. The complete game shutout was the 14th of her career.
- Florida junior pitcher Hannah Rogers (33-7) allowed three runs on five hits in a complete-game effort. She also walked four batters and struck out four.
- The game marked the first time Florida was shut out this season and the first time since May 20, 2012, against USF. It was the fifth shutout recorded by Texas in its WCWS history.
- Texas is now 17-for-18 on stolen base attempts this postseason after going 1-for-2 against Florida today.
TEXAS COACH CONNIE CLARK
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Texas head coach Connie Clark and student‑athletes Kim Bruins and Blaire Luna. We’ll start with an opening comment from Coach and then open with questions.
COACH CLARK: Just nice to get the W. To come out and really just turn it around and Florida is a great ball club. Obviously, they had a late night and quite a long battle with Nebraska. So it was nice to come out. I thought our team was ready to go.
Again, feeling very confident after yesterday and just talking about let’s turn it around and come back and be ready to go. So I love the fight that they brought today.
Q. Kim, after yesterday’s uncharacteristic struggles, how did it feel today to be such an offensive difference maker?
KIM BRUINS: It was really nice knowing that I had such a tough game yesterday and knowing that I can help my team out in a positive way today. It felt really good, because we definitely needed this win more than anything. I think as a whole, we do a very good job of bouncing back after a loss.
Q. Blaire, such a big bounce back for you, 14 strikeouts, 1 hit. Can you talk about your game today?
BLAIRE LUNA: Overall, I was really proud of how I did and just bouncing back. It’s the World Series. That’s what it’s about. I think today I did a lot better job of mixing and it worked to my advantage.
Q. Kim, would you talk about ‑‑ it seems like you found the left field wall exactly right. You got robbed once, and two just barely made it over.
KIM BRUINS: I don’t know. That’s just my spot right now. I’m just seeing the ball very well and I’m trying to be more selective with the pitches that I’m swinging at. I can’t even explain it. I guess that’s just my spot and I’m just doing a better job of selecting pitches to swing at.
Q. Coach, did you implement anything in your game plan today to take advantage of the short rest that Florida had on this one?
COACH CLARK: We really didn’t. Again, we don’t want to get too consumed with the opponent. I think we saw that a little bit yesterday. We got a little consumed with them, and we have to always reel ourselves back in and stay focused on what we’re doing. Although we’re empathetic, we had a nice set‑up with the game time. Sometimes you get that, sometimes you don’t. We had a good turnaround time for recovery.
But we didn’t do anything different in regards to preparation. It was just let’s go back to work and take care of business and go right at them and play Texas softball. I thought we had a great mental approach in that regard today.
Q. Can you talk about now the situation for you guys having to beat Tennessee twice, how you guys approach that and kind of the scouting report, if you know anything about the Volunteers?
COACH CLARK: We’ve got film on them, and certainly have scouting reports. So the nice thing right now is we’ve got a window of time where we can get the athletes fed and an ice bath. We appreciate the ASA putting in clubhouses now, so those are great for the athletes in between games. We can go and recover and get ready for Tennessee. They’re a great ball club.
Like we said yesterday, we feel like we have as good a shot as anybody. So we’ll go back, look at the information that we have, maybe pull out a couple tendencies, but other than that, we need to stay focused on what we do well. I think the recovery piece is the most important in regards to nutrition and hydration, getting a fresh set of legs and turning it around and keep competing hard.
Q. Kim, you’re now a home run hitter. When did you turn into a power hitter?
KIM BRUINS: I don’t know. This is my senior year and the World Series, I’ve just got to step up. I guess I’ve been saving them all for right now.
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Texas – 3
Florida – 0
An interview with:
FLORIDA COACH TIM WALTON
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Florida head coach Tim Walton and student‑athletes Lauren Haeger, Kelsey Horton, and Hannah Rogers. We’ll start with Coach and go to the floor with questions.
COACH WALTON: Congratulations, Texas. Blaire Luna threw another great game and really pitched well. They got enough hits to get it done, but give them a lot of credit. I thought they came in pretty well with a good game plan. Thought the pitch calling was really, really solid and did a good job.
I also want to thank the NCAA, ASA, and University of Oklahoma for an outstanding tournament again for us. We love coming back here. Great venue, great people who work hard for us, and we’re very thankful.
Also thankful to our administration for everything they do for us and really give us the opportunity to put us in this position and take care of our athletes at Florida. Really proud of our players. Proud of Kelsey Horton, and Ensley Gammel for a great four-year career for us. Three trips to the College World Series for this senior class. We win and lose with class and just proud to Coach this team.
Q. Lauren and Kelsey, can you talk about what it seemed like she was doing? It seemed she got the inside of the plate all day and got that call. Can you talk about how big a factor that was?
LAUREN HAEGER: Yeah, she had a really good back door curveball that was getting the corner. The umpire was calling it, so the whole game it was very consistent, so we needed to make adjustments to it. She was mixing her pitches really well. She is a great pitcher and she did what she needed to do today.
KELSEY HORTON: I agree with Lauren. I think she did a great job mixing her pitches and throwing strikes when she needed to throw strikes and getting us to chase when she needed to get ahead. I just think Blaire Luna did a good job, and we didn’t make enough adjustments today.
Q. Hannah and Lauren, can you speak to if fatigue may have been a factor? Twelve hours ago you were playing another game, and now you’re rolling back out here again?
HANNAH ROGERS: I don’t really think so. I think we came out with a lot of energy, more than I expected. Everyone came out ready to fight. I mean, we just were struggling a little bit at the plate; but they did a great job today, Texas did.
LAUREN HAEGER: Yeah, I don’t think so. I felt a good energy. I know I wasn’t tired. We were all just ready to go. We all got treatment last night. Our trainers did really well with that in helping us recover. We went right to bed and got good rest. I think we did have a good energy. Texas just made more adjustments than we did.
Q. Tim, you guys were 0‑99 for the series. How much of that was the pitching and how much was what they’re talking about, not making adjustments?
COACH WALTON: I’m just going to give the credit to the pitchers.
LAUREN HAEGER: The pitchers were really, really, really good this weekend. You come here and the pitcher, it’s their ace every single time you face them. They’ve been pitching all year strong, and I think just struggling at the plate a little bit for everyone and not making as many adjustments as we needed to. But, again, definitely credit to the pitchers. They really did a good job.
KELSEY HORTON: You’re facing All‑Americans almost every game, so, yeah, the pitchers are doing a great job here.
Q. Kelsey, if you could address playing your final game and what the last four years have meant to you?
KELSEY HORTON: Yeah, I’m a little emotional, because it’s my last softball game. But I had a great career here. I’m so excited I could make it to the College World Series three times, and I wouldn’t want to do it with a better group of girls. So I’m really happy.
Q. Could you talk about ‑‑ obviously, you return almost everybody for next year, and just what this season has meant to win as many games, to win the SEC, to win the SEC Tournament to get here and build on it, and the experience the younger players got coming here?
COACH WALTON: We got better. We had a long — in fact grueling is a good word — a grueling fall. Worked our athletes really hard and got a lot better to win 58 games to be SEC champions and regional champions and tournament champions, and super regional champions to get to this point. Just a great group of players that worked hard. I’m really proud of this team. I’m not excited about next year. I’m not looking forward to next year. This is a great team. I’m going to take a long time to really admire a lot of the individual and team efforts that this team accomplished. If you had asked me at the beginning of the season, could this team do this? My answer would have been no very early and easy. The team just got better, got better, and better, and worked hard, got stronger. To hit as many home runs as we hit — to be honest with you, I had this team pegged for 40 or 50 home runs, stole a lot of bases, played good defense, had good pitching.
At the end of the day a lot of the players got better. Kelsey Stewart got better. Kirsti got better. Taylor Schwartz, Lauren got better. A lot of those kids just got better and better and better. I’m really proud to see development. Our program has been known for going to the College World Series and winning a lot of ball games.
But one thing that gets overlooked is player development. I think our training staff, and our support staff and strength coaches, we develop players. We’ve got two first-team All‑Americans in front of you, and we develop players and get them better and we’re very proud of that.
Q. Do you think the game last night is the memory that you’ll take from the World Series appearance here? What they showed you in hanging in there?
COACH WALTON: It’s going to be hard not to. That’s one of the most memorable games I’ve ever been part of as a player or a coach. Just you’ve got to love the backs against the wall, a lot of pressure. You go from just being so high to heartbreak and to be able to bounce back. I really don’t think that had anything to do with today’s performance.
I think Blaire Luna had everything to do with today’s performance more than anything. She was very good. She threw 60 balls. How many strikes did we swing at? And how many good pitches did we take? That’s the M-O of a good pitcher.
But we worked her. She had to throw 141 pitches, and we’ve done that all season long. We’ve just got to continue to get better, and we will.
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