Western Kentucky eliminated South Carolina Upstate 3-0 to advance to Championship Sunday in the Tuscaloosa Regional. They’ll face Alabama at 1 p.m. and if the Lady Toppers win, they’ll play again at 3:30 p.m.
Comments from coach Tyra Perry, pitcher Mallorie Sulaski and second baseman Olivia Watkins.
“It’s always difficult to beat a team twice, especially a well-coached team, strong-pitching, strong-hitting, great-fielding team like USC Upstate.
“I’m really proud of Mallorie, the way she came out on the mound, took command of her pitches and played her game. At this point in the tournament, it’s definitely survive and advance, so I was excited we were able to do that today.”
Chance for Sunday title: “We’re pumped. We’re ready to go out – we came here to win and had an opportunity earlier today to do so and fell a little bit short. We’re pressing the reset button and coming out strong (Sunday).”
Adjustments: “Absolutely. We need to play our game on defense, especially. The errors that we made in that particular game cost us.”
Sulaski’s performance: “This whole atmosphere, situation is pressure. We’ve talked about that and how to handle the pressure of being in the NCAA Tournament. I believe we’ve handled it well so far and the pressure has presented itself in many different ways.
“Just having to come in and make their pitches and take command on the mound is something that I believe we’re prepared for and we’re going to do everything we can to be successful in that area.”
Saturday win: “I felt I did well. I was struggling a little bit at first, then I just found it and found my groove and was throwing my pitches and just making sure I was snapping the ball and doing my job.”
Breaking for home on comebacker: “We always practice it – speed creates drama, creates errors. Always practice off the bat and groundballs – no hesitation.”
Alabama again: “I feel like it’s revenge because we should have taken the first game away from them. It’s a great opportunity and I’m glad to be here and so is my team.”