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Kentucky-James Madison Postgame Quotes




May 17, 2014

Recap |  Box Score

Recap

Kentucky used back-to-back RBI hits in the bottom of the sixth inning from Nikki Sagermann and Griffin Joiner in a come-from-behind 2-1 win over James Madison in the second day of competition at the NCAA Tournament in Lexington. UK moves on to the winner’s bracket and needs just win on Sunday to advance to its second-consecutive NCAA Super Regional appearance. Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley tossed a complete-game effort yielding five hits, but striking out a career-high tying 11 batters in the win. JMU’s Caitlin Sandy went 2-for-3 with a solo home run for the Dukes. James Madison faces elimination at 6 p.m. ET and will face the winner of the DePaul-Ohio contest.

Kentucky Postgame Press Conference

Kentucky Head Coach Rachel Lawson

Opening statement …
First, it was really cool to see my student-athletes answer the questions (at the press conference). That was neat. That’s something that we tell them to answer honestly, so they’ve grown through the postseason. Luckily those three have been on the podium a few times, so that is really helpful, not only for them but because they have been playing well. I thought today was a tough game for us. I thought Kelsey (Nunley) did a great job, especially when they came up and hit that home run. Obviously, I called the wrong pitch and the girl crushed it and that really changed the momentum. Their crowd went crazy. Their stands showed that JMU really belonged here. So, I thought we were really quite, I thought we were tentative when we were up to bat and I am just happy that we got to adjust. But I thought JMU was a really good team. They’re feisty. They fight hard and do everything the right way. I am happy to escape with the win.”


 

 

On firing up her team after giving up a home run in the second inning …
“Yeah, I don’t do that often, but sometimes I will do that. As a coach I am not a big yeller. I’m not someone that does that, but I believe that there are times where you have to make them more scared of you than the situation in front of them, and I think that the postseason sometimes people can get distracted. They want to do well. They want to do very well. They know they’re carrying the team, when you’re not getting a lot of runs out of the whole line up, like we did not yesterday, the few people that are capable of producing sometimes put too much pressure on themselves. So, at times you have to distract athletes to help them get out of their own way. So yeah, I did take it upon myself  to get on Griffin (Joiner) and Nikki (Sagermann) a little bit so they did okay. Those are two athletes that can handle that. I could not do that to everybody in my order. I can do that to them because they are great competitors.

On why her players react the way they do to her …
“I am not that frightening. No, I am not that frightening. I am very poignant and direct. I very rarely get on people, but when I do it means something. I think sometimes when coaches constantly are yelling at players, I think they have a tendency to tune them out, but that’s not the way here with Kentucky softball. We are very analytical in what we do and not very emotional. Sometimes when we pull the emotional card, sometimes it’s that slap across the face that you need to wake up and do what you need to do, and I can’t say enough about those two. I think they have done so much for our program, especially of late. We would not be here without them, but unfortunately we need them just as much as we need Kelsey to produce on the mound. That is the reality of it when your team isn’t producing enough runs offensively the people that are capable have to step up that’s their part and there role.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#13, Griffin Joiner, Jr., C
On James Madison’s pitcher Jailyn Ford …
“She’s very good. She’s a really good pitcher. She’s a competitor. She was really going after us.”

On if the UK batters were becoming nervous late in the game …
“We knew that the last time through (the order) that we had to do it then, and that was the only time that mattered. The times before you just had to let them go, and try to get better the last time.”

On advancing to the championship series on Sunday …
“It’s definitely good because we get to rest for the rest of the day, and come out fresh tomorrow while the other teams battle each other.”

On Emily Gaines’ deep fly out sparking the Wildcat offense in the fifth inning …
“(Emily) Gaines has sparked us all year, and I think that kind of got everybody going. Everybody got fired up. The rest of the people in the lineup started battling better in their at bats.

#33, Kelsey Nunley, So., P

On her performance in the circle today…
“I guess good. We won so that’s all that matters.”

On the home run she gave up …
“It was a drop-ball, in. She (Caitlin Sandy) was just on it. She was a little off the plate and Coach (Lawson) was telling me that she’s really good at dropping her barrel. It (the pitch) was probably a little bit slow. She was just on time and crushed it. Bad pitch by me, and a good swing by her.”

On the adjustments she made throughout the game …
“I threw change-ups quite a bit the last half of the game, just trying to keep them off balance and make them guess at what was coming.”

On her mindset when the opposing pitcher is pitching well …
“I know that I just have to focus on what my job is. Whatever happens on offense I know that I just have to go out there and try and stop them from scoring. That’s what I try and focus on during the game.”

On being hit by a line drive …
“It sure did (hit her in the face). Actually, that’s never happened. Ever since I broke my nose when I was eight, I’ve worn the mask. I had never gotten hit in the face since. So, that (today’s hit) was really shocking. It happens. You just have to forget about it and move on.”

On warming up without the mask, but playing with it on …
“I’ve never warmed up with it on. I’m kind of superstitious, and I just don’t do it.”

On tying her career high with 11 strikeouts …
“Maybe just keeping it (striking a batter out) in mind, and just thinking about striking them out, and just throwing hard, believing in Coach and whatever signs she gives to me that I can execute it.”

#77, Nikki Sagermann, So., 3B

On James Madison’s pitcher Jailyn Ford …
“She was really good at getting ahead in the count and making us chase a little bit. She has really good spin as well. We had to make adjustments by the end of the game to pull out that win.”

On her offensive adjustments …
“My personal adjustment, because she has so much spin on the ball I had to get a shorter swing, and tracking the ball deeper into my at bat.”

On if the UK batters were becoming nervous late in the game …
“Well, it was only a one-run ballgame. So, we knew that one swing could change the whole game.”

On Emily Gaines’ deep fly out sparking the Wildcat offense in the fifth inning …
“I think we finally saw someone get some solid contact on her. So, we were like ‘Alright, we can hit her.’”

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