Game 7: California 6, Oklahoma State 2
- California improved to 45-12 on the year by eliminating Oklahoma State from the, 6-2. OSU finished its season with a 44-36 record.
- The Golden Bears are now 19-19 all-time at the WCWS and hold a 7-6 all-time advantage over the Cowgirls (3-0 in the NCAA tournament).
- California improved to 21-0 this year when scoring six-plus runs, to 30-3 when leading after five innings and to 37-0 when out-hitting its opponents. The Golden Bears racked up 10 hits to OSU’s six.
- Oklahoma State senior Mariah Gearhart was hit by a pitch to lead off the first inning, marking her 23rd HBP this season and NCAA-record 93rd of her career.
- After going hitless through the game’s first 3.1 innings, OSU strung together five consecutive singles in top of the fourth inning to plate its only two runs. Sophomore Tamara Brown recorded her 25th RBI of the year and senior Ashley Boyd added her 23rd of the season.
- California sophomore Jordan Wallace was hit by a pitch for the team-high 17th time this season.
- California freshman Ashley Decker hit a bases-loaded triple in the bottom of the fifth inning to drive in three runs and give her team a 4-2 advantage. It was Decker’s first triple of the year and boosted her season RBI total to 15.
- California junior Elia Reid hit a solo home run in the sixth to put Cal up 6-2. It was Reid’s team-leading ninth homer of the season and 19th of her career.
- Golden Bears sophomore pitcher Jolene Henderson improved to 40-9 on the season with the complete-game victory. She surrendered six hits and no walks while striking out six.
- Oklahoma State sophomore pitcher Kat Espinosa dropped to 23-10 on the year after giving up six runs (five earned) on nine hits and two walks in 5.0 innings. She struck out eight.
- OSU fell to 11-14 all-time in WCWS games and to 44-36 overall in the NCAA tournament.
HEAD COACH DIANE NINEMIRE
“I want to congratulate Oklahoma State for a great season. That was a great team we played out there today. They gave us everything we wanted in a game. They were ahead in the game, but the Bears never died. They stayed strong, they believed in themselves today. I am so proud of their effort and Jolene (Henderson) threw another great game. We had some really great timely hits that allowed us to win this game.”
On going into the game more aggressive than in Thursday’s first round:
“Absolutely; we were out hitting yesterday and we talked about staying in hitters’ counts, display(ing) the plate in half and looking down at the zone. I thought we did a much better job today of looking for good pitches to swing at today.”
On the possibility of playing four games in two days:
“We’re going to go back to the hotel right now and get something to eat. We’ll keep drinking a lot of water and stay away from the sodas; take a shower, cool our bodies down. This team is ready to go. We know where we are right now. We know our backs are against the wall but we’re not finished with our season yet, so we’re going to go as far as we can.”
CALIFORNIA FRESHMAN DESIGNATED PLAYER ASHLEY DECKER
On her fifth-inning bases-loaded triple:
“I was just really pumped up. I knew there were two outs, bases loaded, and I needed to find a way to just put the ball where no one is standing – just anywhere. I was really pumped up that I was able to get the hit for the team.”
CALIFORNIA SOPHOMORE PITCHER JOLENE HENDERSON
On team’s attitude after Oklahoma State scored twice to take a 2-1 lead in the fourth:
“The attitude was still strong. We knew we wanted this game. So we went out pumped up, which was really good for our team to have a lot of energy. When they were getting those hits, it wasn’t really hits that were defendable because they just dropped in places where we were not. The team was still really pumped up because we knew we were going to get more hits and people were going to step up like Ashley Decker and they did.”
On Oklahoma State’s offense:
“I think they are a very good hitting team. When they came up they were definitely swinging hard. I didn’t feel like I was losing control of the game at all, because they were just like the drop hits. I still had a lot of confidence in my team because they always come up big for me.”
On if she changed her strategy when Oklahoma State began to rally:
“I didn’t change it. I just started to throw a little too much in the zone. The change-up started to slow down too much. My dad was yelling and he’s telling me, ‘Make sure you’re going game speed.’ So I started to throw it harder again and it started to come back.”
OKLAHOMA STATE HEAD COACH RICH WIELIGMAN
“This was a good game. I have said it all along: when you start playing teams of this caliber, it comes down to one or two plays, maybe two or three pitched balls or hit balls. Just big plays like that. I just think that’s what it came down to. I love Sammy Jo’s (Diffendaffer) effort on (Ashley Decker’s three-run triple). If she decides to play that on a hop, they still score. They are breaking with two outs and they are still going to score two runs; that puts them in the lead. But if she makes that catch, we’re right there in the driver’s seat and we’re up one. I love the effort of our team. We got down early, we came back. And against Jolene Henderson, putting five, six hits together to get those runs, I can’t say enough. At the first of the game she was getting ahead and we were struggling. And then all of a sudden we started swinging the bats and I thought we did a great job that (fourth) inning to get ahead of them 2-1. The rest of the game we played well. They just made one more play than us.”
On the season and what the College World Series means to his team:
“It’s hard to put into words. It just means everything. It’s great for our program. It’s great for Oklahoma State. But when you see our seniors and what they’ve gone through and how they brought us along, I cannot say enough about what they’ve done for this program. I am very proud of them.”
OKLAHOMA STATE SENIOR SECOND BASEMAN ALYSIA HAMILTON
On OSU’s two-run fourth inning in which it singled five straight times:
“We were going to battle no matter what and we were all in there and said we were going to give everything we have. That’s usually how we are. Each person is going up there swinging the bat hard and trying to get that hit. We just ended up putting them all together. We did a good job.”
On Cal pitcher Jolene Henderson and her effective changeup:
“She did an outstanding job. I was trying to look for a specific pitch and she definitely kept us on our toes and off balance. So she did a great job.”
OKLAHOMA STATE SENIOR THIRD BASEMAN MARIAH GEARHART
On going against Jolene Henderson and her effective change-up:
“She definitely kept us off balance with it. She comes in with a hard pitch to keep you off balance, and you try to turn on a pitch and then she throws a changeup. Especially with our big hitters, she kept them off balance.”
On what it means to be at the College World Series in her senior year:
“It’s a lot. Not a lot of people can say that they ended their career at the College World Series. From where our program was freshman year, I mean this is our dream. For us to say that we made it by our senior year is just amazing. Where this program is at and to leave this program knowing that we were one of the top eight teams in the nation, you can’t ask for anything better. And this group of girls are some of the best in the world.”
OKLAHOMA STATE SOPHOMORE PITCHER KAT ESPINOSA
On California’s big fifth inning and what changed for her:
“Honestly, I guess I was just tired. I just had a bad inning, basically. They did their job and took care of it. They scored a lot. It happens.”