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TULSA SOFTBALL TEAM PREPS FOR NCAA REGIONAL AT OU SOFTBALL COMPLEX

Caitlin Everett is second on the team with a .375 batting average.
Caitlin Everett is second on the team with a .375 batting average.
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May 17, 2012

Norman, Oklahoma - No. 25 Tulsa opens the 2012 NCAA Norman Regional against No. 24 Oregon State at 5 p.m. Friday, May 18 at the OU Softball Complex.

The Golden Hurricane (41-12, 19-5 C-USA), the third seed in the regional, and the Beavers (34-21, 9-14 Pac-12), the second seed in the regional, are meeting in the NCAA postseason for the first time. No. 4 Oklahoma, seeded fourth nationally, plays Lehigh at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Live stats and live video will be available on www.TulsaHurricane.com . All Golden Hurricane NCAA Tournament information can be found on the TU tournament central page at http://www.tulsahurricane.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/tuls-ncaa-central-2012.html.

Tulsa Coach John Bargfeldt and three Tulsa players met the media on Thursday following Tulsa's 10 am practice. The press conference quotes are below:

John Bargfeldt, Tulsa Head Coach

Opening Statement:

"I'm proud of our team that we were able to win the Conference USA Championship and get back to the regional here at Oklahoma. We're looking forward to coming out and competing, like I've seen them come out and compete all year."

What is the difference from this year to last year:

"I think we've been more balanced this year than we were last season. Last year, we were pitching dominant, but maybe at times we struggled at scoring some runs. This year, with the fact that a lot of those players were freshmen and sophomores, and now that they're sophomores and juniors we're in line to set the record for scoring the most runs in school history. That's not to say we're going to be able to score a lot of runs once you get into a regional, but it does give our hitters confidence that hitting has been a strength. Most of our players are back from last year. We had outstanding defense last year to go along with our pitching, and with our improved hitting, I think we're a pretty well-rounded team."

 

 

What can you say about your two senior, Skylar Swanson and Jessica Stoelke?

"They've accomplished more than anybody has through our program. They came in as freshmen and we won a conference championship with them as freshmen and so they got thrown into the fire. They each started as a freshman. These two (Jessica and Skylar) are our first five-time champions. We recognize any one in our program who is a four-time champion or more, and they've upped it. We've had two players who have been four-time champions, and now these two are five-time champions, including conference regular season and tournament championships. We started that a few years ago, and I'm proud of the fact that these two are our first two five-time champions. Both of them are having their best seasons in their senior year. Every year it seems like a senior or two step up to have their career year, and I'm proud of the fact that these two are stepping up and doing that as well."

Talk about what you know about Oregon State:

"Oregon State is a very solid program. You can just take a look at the teams they've played. They're capable of beating anyone in the country. We know that hitting-wise and defense-wise they're just a solid team all around. They have good team speed and experienced pitching."

"We know that we'll have to play our best game to get by Oregon State. We feel like we're capable of doing that, but at this point in the season it's all about can you bring you're A-game to each game."

Talk about your teams' confidence entering post-season play having won 10 of your last 11 games:

"For the last three weeks we've had such a high expectation of winning the Conference USA Championship, and we've been in situations where we couldn't afford losses. So we've been playing with that mentality for the last three weeks. We've had a couple of stumbles along the way, and I'm proud of the fact that they regrouped right away and came back with big wins right after it."

"The thing that you're most comfortable as a coach is knowing that our team is passionate and they're accountable. They know that games are big. They've been playing big games for a long time. They know how to approach those big games and come out and be focused and be ready to go. As a coach that's all you can ask for in the game. There's going to be times that there are pitchers that are just unhittable and you can't do anything about it, but they've done a great job of being ready to play."

Caitlin Everett, Junior Outfielder

How does that experience from last year help you?

"We've been here before. It's our second straight year in a regional at OU. It's the same field, it's the same atmosphere. We've been here before, so hopefully we can improve and do better this year."

How do you think the team is playing overall now?

Like coach said, we're pretty balanced. We're playing good defense, pitching well and our hitting has come around. We're doing pretty well in every aspect of the game."

Jessica Stoelke, Senior Outfielder

This is the final go round for you. What are your thoughts?

"It's bittersweet. We're happy to be here, but at the same time we don't want to be done. We talk about it every day. This could be our last practice. This could be our last game. We just want to keep fighting and go out with a bang."

Do the higher expectations help you when you're on the field?

"Yes, definitely. We're really good about holding ourselves accountable and knowing that everyone has a responsibility to get it done and when we hold each other accountable it just makes us that much stronger."

What will it take for this team to advance in this tournament:

"Like Coach J just said, we have to bring our A-game. We have to be clicking on all aspects of the game - defense, hitting and pitching. We already have the passion. We all want this really bad, it will just be a matter of getting the job done."

Skylar Swanson, Senior Second Baseman

This is the final go round for you. What are your thoughts?

"It's really exciting. We ended the conference strong and we definitely want to go farther than we've ever gone before. Like Jessica said, we definitely want to go out with bang and make a mark for Tulsa."

How much has the program grown been since you've been at Tulsa:

"We've definitely grown a lot as a team. We've grown a lot closer to the coaches. I feel like we're strong in every aspect. We've grown a lot mentally and we have higher expectations."