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What Rachel Lawson, Rachel Metzger and Grace Baalman said after win over Notre Dame

Rachel Lawson (Vicky Graff Photo)

NCAA Lexington Regional
May 19, 2018
Lexington, Ky.
#19 Kentucky 10, Notre Dame 0 (5)

Kentucky Head Coach Rachel Lawson
Opening statement …
“I started my first press conference today, which seemed like a long time ago but I’m going to say it again because I think it is important. I know I work at the University of Kentucky, but I want to thank all of the staff for everything that they’ve done. These are long days. The rain has been crazy and yes, the grounds crew has done an amazing. And so has the events staff, concessions, media relations you name it and everyone else. You guys being here, it’s a long day so we really appreciate you guys being here with us. Today was obviously a very exciting day for us in general. We’ve put up a lot of runs. To be able to come out today with only doing 10 innings is something that we’ve been working hard for every year. Also, really excited to be next to these two. I think this is the first time that (Rachael) Metz has ever been on this podium. As a senior, I think it is really special. Is this the first time that we’ve been on the podium together? (Looking at Baalman). Yeah, I guess because you’re a freshman right? So, that’s pretty cool. I’ve got the bookends. I’m very excited for our team. I thought that we did a really nice job offensively. We executed the game plan about as well as we could’ve. We had a couple of things that we could’ve done better, but for the most part I thought we did a great job which is nice considering we’ve been working towards this all year.”

On Metger’s grand slam …
“It was actually a very easy decision (to have her pinch hit). We’ve been working on it all year. We started to set ourselves up for this during the SEC tournament and things didn’t go the way we wanted to in the SEC tournament, but it was the stage that we needed to be in to prepare us for today. So, when Metzger had her opportunity then and it didn’t go the way she wanted it and I was just really excited that she knew all along this was going to be her opportunity and she made the most of it. So, it was an easy decision.”

On the long day …
“It was a long day because we played the first game, obviously, and then the last one but it is nice to know a couple of things – we don’t have to start warming up until about Noon tomorrow. And then the other thing that is nice, we’re not sure who our opponent is but it’s obviously nice that they have to go at each other. They’re two great opponents and the pitchers are going to have to face each other and be there which is obviously the biggest advantage. But, we’re just excited that we came through today. We were in a similar situation a couple of years ago and we didn’t do as well, so we really put our backs against the wall and it was really nice to see this team learn from then and come out and win and put us in a better position to be obviously be in the championship.”

On starter decision tomorrow …
“Well, the nice thing is both Grace (Baalman) and Erin (Rethlake) didn’t have to throw very many pitches today. So, they’ll get there treatment now after the game and when they wake up tomorrow. Erin’s old, so it takes her a little bit longer. Just kidding. But, Grace is a little bit younger but she’s tall so that makes her a little bit sore. I’m not sure, but anyway we’ll figure that out after they go to bed and when they wake up and we see how they’re doing. But, I anticipate that they’ll both be feeling well. And to be honest with you we will probably go with both of them.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes
#44, Rachael Metzger, C/INF

On grand slam …
“It kind of just blurred by. Coach Lawson told me going into the box she said shoot for a sac fly, and I knew that was my job. That’s kind of my role on the team. That was what I was hoping for and when it went over I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! That just happened.’”

On finding opportunities in the game, staying within self, and picturing the right outcomes …
“Definitely trying to stay in front of the dugout. Watch, talk to Sandra (Simmons) a lot of what’s going on. What’s being pitched? What zones I need to be sitting in, and just kind of mentally preparing myself. ‘Okay this is your shot. Make the most of it.’”

On what you saw with the pitch that you hit the grand slam …
“It was over the plate, honestly. I just, you know, put a good swing on a good pitch. The rest just kind of took care of itself.”

#3, Grace Baalman, P

On her performance …
“I just went out there and threw a game I could throw. My job is to keep our team in the game and let up as least runs as possible, and just playing behind that defense. You know they have your back the whole time. I just go out there and throw the best game I can throw.”

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