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June 4, 2021

Patrick Murphy

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

Alabama Crimson Tide

Postgame Press Conference

Alabama - 6, UCLA - 0

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Murphy.

Q. This is a little bit off topic. On a night that Montana's perfect game, but your team has hit pretty a quarter of your home runs this season since the SEC tournament started. You don't build your lineups around home runs usually, but was that a missing ingredient or just a bonus that you've seen develop in recent weeks?

PATRICK MURPHY: I think more of a bonus because like Maddie had come close so many times and for whatever reason it just didn't happen for her and she hit the key home run against Kentucky in super regionals just like she did a couple years ago when we clinched the SEC down in Baton Rouge. So I always say you never know what's going to happen, just keep swinging hard and good things are going to happen for us. I think they're starting to see the ball really well and I definitely think we're peaking at the right time.

Q. Can you talk about Montana and what she was feeling out there, what you were feeling while she was in the circle just dealing it tonight?

PATRICK MURPHY: Well, it's a special, first of all, it's her birthday, so a hell of a birthday present to herself. Just to watch greatness is pretty cool. All of you were a witness to it. So, didn't think she would get better from yesterday, but she did. And these are, obviously you guys know, these are good teams. I mean, this is the King of the PAC 12, the PAC 12 champions, and to throw a perfect game against legendary UCLA is something else for a kid from a small town from northeast Kentucky. So just unbelievable feeling. And I knew she had a no-hitter, but to be honest with you, I didn't realize it was a perfect game, so Sarah Cornell had to tell me afterwards, but just fun to watch.

Q. What has gone into Montana being so dominant over this last part of the season for you guys?

PATRICK MURPHY: Well, I think everything's clicking for her too. First, Stephanie Prothro has done one hell of a job with the entire pitching staff. But when Montana came, she had curveball, fastball, and that was basically it. She threw a high fastball as her rise ball. And she has just developed those pitches, the movement pitches, and we knew she had the speed, but when she got the movement, it was going to be pretty special. Nobody wants to take any time anymore and it has to be instant gratification and it takes time to develop these pitches. And when we left last March, she said to me, and she was disappointed with her season last year, which it wasn't the worst, it was, I still took it, but she said, That will never happen again. And she made it a point, just like Kaylee said, to work her butt off, starting in August, to become what she is right now. So hard work pays off.

Q. In that month that Lexi missed, what did the Montana show you, and I guess what did she due to elevate her game over that span?

PATRICK MURPHY: Well, I think she really started to take care of her body, for sure, pre-pitch, post-game, and that's key. Our athletic training staff did a great job with her, but she went in and pre-games she did a bunch of stuff, and then after the game, and then the day after as well before the game she would go in. But everything is kind of working together right now and she's just been more, her endurance is great, her shape is great, and of course every day she will say something to me, like, I'm good to go. I believe her now.

Q. I don't know if you were able to see it yet just coming off the field, but Nate Oats was tweeting at you guys pretty much all game and I know there was a little bit of a personal vendetta there coming off the loss to UCLA in March. You talk about the fraternity of coaches you guys have. Talk about how special this win was, first win against UCLA all time, and kind of return the favor for Oats.

PATRICK MURPHY: Yeah, I don't know if Montana knew, that but that's the first time we have beaten UCLA. So, again, happy birthday. Yeah, it was, I mean, we have such respect for their entire program. Their coaching staff is great. So this is just a huge win for us. The whole athletic department, we can feel it here. It's such a cool feeling that everybody has our backs, basically Tuscaloosa, west Alabama, the whole state, really. You can tell that they're watching. You get so many messages from all over really the country, and Coach Oats is one of my favorite people at Alabama, and the whole coaching fraternity there has been just terrific.

Q. I think offensively what doesn't get talked about enough is the success of Jenna Johnson and Savannah Woodard these first two days. Jenna's collected a couple of RBIs to begin the game, and then Savannah's gone basically, I think, three or four times in the first two games. Talk about how beneficial it is to have them produce for your lineup?

PATRICK MURPHY: One of the goals tonight was to put the ball in play because we knew Rachel's, she's an Olympian, she's one of the best countries in the country and one of the best pitchers and we wanted to put the ball in play, and obviously in the first inning, Matt, Bailey, and then Jenna, and it was a big RBI for both of them, Bailey and Jenna, but then Sav comes up and kind of starts a rally for us and both of them have been unsung heros, just putting the ball in play. And they're both pretty quick. They put pressure on the defense. And I was pleased up and down the lineup. I thought we did a really good job against obviously one of the best players in the country.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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