May 19, 2006

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Tennessee Head Coach Ralph Weekly
"They came out and hit us in the mouth. It was a street fight, but our kids refused to buckle, and they fought back. We're like 68-0 instate. We knew it would be a battle. Our kids were ready to play. I'm proud of our kids. We used our speed game about as well as we possibly could have. All that matters are the results."

On whether the defense stepped up in the latter innings against Tennessee Tech:
"Honestly, this (Monica Abbott) is our ace. Some days, even Nolan Ryan doesn't have it. I think Megan Rhods is why they didn't hit. She hit her spots and was tough. We've got two good pitchers. We've got one of the best speed games in the nation, and it paid off today. I say one of the best--Arizona might argue that."

On whether Monica Abbott would start Saturday's game:
"Absolutely, she'll start again, and Megan (Rhodes) will be ready if we need her." "We were missing three starters--(Kristi) Durant, (Jennifer) Griffin, and (Danielle Pieroni. Griffin pulled a muscle in practice yesterday and was sore when she got out of bed. Pieroni has an eye infection. That was a lot of RBI out of the lineup. We had to make some changes. If we had a player of the game, it would have to go to Megan (Rhodes) and KP (Kenora Posey)."

On having to rally to come back for the win:
"There's a positive to coming back. We came out of nowhere last year to finish third in the nation. This year, everybody is expecting so much from this team. They've never played as frontrunners before."



On Virginia Tech pitcher Angela Tincher:
"Tincher is a very good pitcher. There will be three of the 10 finalists for Player of the Year on the field tomorrow with Tincher, (Monica) Abbott, and (Sarah) Fekete. What a treat. Tincher is a very good pitcher, and it will be a tremendous challenge. She's got a good riser, but she's got a good drop, too. We've played Tech many times, and it seems like it's always a 1-0 or 2-0 game. It will be a battle."

"There will be two good pitchers. It will be a struggle for every batter. They don't call it `fast throw'. They call it `fast pitch'. You've got two pitchers with over 450 strikeouts apiece. I want to watch that game myself."

Pitcher Monica Abbott:
"I came out and had a little too much energy. They had obviously put in work to prepare for me." [Coach Weekly interjects: "The other game ended quickly, and Monica was not totally prepared to go out there."

On Virginia Tech's Callie Rhodes saying that she is ready to face Abbott
"I don't care who the batter is. Bring it on."

Center Fielder Sarah Fekete
"Our speed game feeds off each other. It puts pressure on the defense. When you've got four people who can run that fast, it puts pressure on the defense."

"I was trying to put the ball on the ground. I'm playing with four slappers. I'm not even the fastest player on this team. KP (Kenora Posey) is extremely fast. I'm just smiling because we've got so many chances of getting on base."

Pitcher Megan Rhodes
On this being her first postseason performance
"I tried not to think about this being the postseason. I just tried to stay focused and stay in the game." "I completely trust our defense and offense. I just try to do my job. I wasn't thinking about the other team. I was just thinking about my game and hitting my spots."

Tennessee Tech Head Coach Tory Acheson:
"I'm very, very proud of the way we came to the game offensively, but I'm disappointed in how we performed defensively. We worked hard this week to have a good game plan to hopefully score some runs, and we did that very, very well. Then we made some key mistakes that gave the game away. "

On preparing to face Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott:
"We worked all week on trying to shorten the distance to increase the reaction time. Samantha and I spent most of the week throwing from about 20 feet away as hard as we can to try to simulate the reaction time. It still doesn't guarantee that you're going to hit her. She's still a great pitcher. She's still going to get her share of strikeouts and her share of outs. But I think that if you make her seem not as overpowering, that's the secret. That's what we were hoping to do, and it worked in stretches today."

On facing Tennessee pitcher Megan Rhodes in the later innings:
"Megan's very, very good. They've got two great pitchers. I think it was a combination of maybe having a little bit of a letdown, which we should not have had, and then the terrible inning defensively. I think that sort of knocked the wind out of our sails. I think we were a lot easier to pitch to the last three innings than the first three innings."

Infielder Krystina Dobbs:
On the pitch she hit for a two-run home run:
"It was a change-up. I was ready for the rise ball, and (Abbott) happened to throw one right down the middle."

Pitcher Bonnie Bynum:
On her feeling about facing Tennessee:
"I felt pretty good. I knew coming in that I probably wasn't going to get 10 or 12 strikeouts. They're leading the nation in hitting. But I just came in with the same game plan I've had all year. I tried to keep them off balance, keep them guessing. I did it off and on, I guess. Obviously I hung a few pitches, but for the most part I think I did pretty decent keeping them off-balance."

On how she faces slap hitters:
"Usually it depends on how they're approaching the ball as they're slapping at it. If they're going over the plate, I usually try to jam them. If they're going away from the plate, I try to keep it outside. It usually just depends on how I see them taking their swing. I'd rather them hit five home runs than having them put one right in front of the plate and beating it out."



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