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June 1, 2019

Sarah Cornell

Bailey Hemphill

Patrick Murphy

Merris Schroder

Kaylee Tow

Oklahoma City, Oklahomaa

Alamama-15, Florida-3

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Alabama.

Sarah, how is the balance in making sure you're still throwing strikes, not making them too attractive to hit?

SARAH CORNELL: Yeah, I think that's huge, getting the lead early, jumping on them as soon as possible. I think I got to do better in the end. I think we did a really good job this game.


Q. Kaylee, how important was it to get to Kelly early, get her off her game?
KAYLEE TOW: Yeah, well, Kelly had a great career at the University of Florida. There's no doubt that she is a great pitcher. We knew going into this game, we faced her a lot of times this season. She's going to have a great outing every time she goes out there.

Just to get the momentum on our side offensively was big. Of course, Merris (Schroder) came up big, too. The first inning was huge for our offense.

Q. Sarah, you haven't pitched since the regional tournament, Arizona State. How was it coming out here after such a long layoff?
SARAH CORNELL: I think just I tried not to do too much.

Q. Kaylee, what was your approach once you got behind in the count?
KAYLEE TOW: Well, I think there's a difference getting behind in the count because you're not being aggressive and getting behind in the count because you are taking good swings but didn't hit the middle of it. Today my approach was just really to be aggressive when I saw a strike.

I fought off two pitches straight back -- one I was just a little early, the next one was straight back. Even though I was down in the count, I thought those were two really good pitches. I knew I was right on there.

Q. Bailey, you hit that home run, broke the record, how did that feel?
BAILEY HEMPHILL: Murph told us before the inning to keep the momentum going on our side, get more runs for Sarah for the fifth inning. I didn't know I was going to hit it over. Kind of got jammed a little bit.

It's just an honor to be talked about with Kelly Kretschman in the same sentence. It's pretty cool.

Q. For all the athletes, talk about what you need to see tonight in another elimination game.
KAYLEE TOW: Well, obviously we know Arizona is a great team. We played them earlier in the season. I think what we showed here today is exactly what we need to do tonight. The offense jumped on them early. We know we have a great pitching staff. Sarah did great. Whoever starts in the circle needs to work hard for us, and the offense needs to work hard.

MERRIS SCHRODER: Something we've done a really good job of all season is showing how much fight we have. Especially tonight when we're facing elimination, fighting to play another game with each other, we just got to keep fighting no matter what happens in the game.

Even if we don't come out on top in the first inning, come back in the second, third, fourth.

SARAH CORNELL: I think we got to score early and often. The pitchers need to get ahead in the count.

BAILEY HEMPHILL: I think we just need to take it one pitch at a time, one inning at a time. Just keep playing like we've been playing all season, good defense, good offense, good pitching, we'll be fine.

Q. What is it like to beat Florida after they beat you in the SEC Championship game?
BAILEY HEMPHILL: They got us in the SEC Championship. It was a tough loss for us. We knew coming in, this was for the season. Just keep fighting on. We have to take it one game at a time. A little bit of revenge, I guess.

SARAH CORNELL: Same thing as Bailey. I think it was a little bit of revenge. We wanted to get back at them, yeah.

MERRIS SCHRODER: I think for me it was just finishing the SEC right because we had such a good SEC season, then the championship game in the tournament we didn't come out on top. For me, it was just finishing the last SEC opponent on a high note.

KAYLEE TOW: Well, we know it's going to be a fight every time we play Florida. They're a great program. We had a bad taste in our mouth, it really hurt. But it was really sweet to get the win today.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies.

We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q. What was the plan of attack to start the game offensively?
PATRICK MURPHY: Just see the ball down basically above the kneecap to mid-thigh. If you got that pitch, swing with intent, really mean business. She's got such a great rise ball and up-pitch, lay off that, make her bring it down.

Merris, that was her pitch. Really proud of her that she swung at it, number one, then she got all of it. It was a big win for her.

And Tow, too. KB and Tow did not do well their first night. It was their first time here and I am sure they were both nervous. I think both of them wanted a little redemption. Tow, she hammered that one, too. I think hers was with two strikes. The other night she took the two-strike pitch, that was strike three. Tonight, she hammered it.

Q. You've seen Barnhill many times. This is the last time you'll see her. As an opponent, put into perspective what she's meant.
PATRICK MURPHY: I remember I think the first time we faced her, two of the girls came into the dugout. This was her freshman year. I said, ‘That ball was over your head’. She said, ‘Murph, I didn't even see it.’ Oh, this is going to be a long game (smiling).

She had such a good spin on her rise ball. She's a great competitor. Love that she's from the south, from the Atlanta area. Just a good kid, smart kid. I wish I could say I'm going to miss her, but I'm really glad she's graduating. Same with Lorenz. That's one of the classiest kids we've ever competed against, one of the best hitters we've had to face. I can't say enough good things about both of them.

Q. You didn't have any affect effects from the weather delay. What did you do?
PATRICK MURPHY: They played Family Feud for two and a half hours on the chalkboard in the locker room. Watched Bases Loaded coverage of ESPN College Baseball. That was about it.

Q. Obviously there's a bit of an offensive explosion on your end. How are you feeling about the dominance of your team?
PATRICK MURPHY: I mean, I'm so proud of every one of them. That's easily the best offensive game we've had. One of the things we say is pass the baton, pass it down, pass it down. It's almost like a football team that gets to the 20 yard line, inside the red zone, fumbles or throws it away or doesn't score. That's the key, to score when in the red zone.

Last couple years we had too many stalls in the offense. Today it was just awesome to see it. We had a lot of two-out RBIs, which is a killer in post-season softball. The home runs, I looked up, we had three hits, six runs. When you hit two three-run home runs, you're going to score in bunches. We had a couple doubles, really good at-bats. We only had two strike-outs, too. It was just a great offensive game for us.

Q. Who won the Family Feud? Arizona tonight, what do you need to see from your team?
PATRICK MURPHY: I think Team Gray, our radio guy, they won.

You go in to Florida, now you have to face another All-American pitcher probably, a lefty who we saw in Tucson long time ago in February. I know they have murderer's row in their lineup. Everybody can hit, hit home runs. It's one of Mike's best teams. It will be a challenge, for sure.

Q. When we brought up Bailey's record breaking for the home run, you had a smile on your face. Explain what she's meant to the program.
PATRICK MURPHY: That was 1998 when Kelly Kretschman set the record. It was the second year of the program. She was a freshman. She took the country by storm and hit 25 her first year. I think she led off nine games with home runs. She's still the greatest hitter we've ever had.

For Bailey to pass her up says a lot. Kelly was a gold medalist, silver medalist. I can't say enough about her. But for Bailey to do that, especially today in this situation, because I think the game was in hand, but she passed it down and did her job.

How many RBIs now does she have? 82. She broke the other school record. Pretty darn good night for her.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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