Kentucky finished off their series win over Texas A&M on Monday night, bookending a Sunday loss with victories on Saturday and Monday. The final win, which aired on the SEC Network as part of Mic’d Up Monday, was a topsy-turvy game, as the Wildcats hit grand slams in both the first and second innings, but had to withstand a late Texas A&M rally, when the Aggies scored six runs in the final two innings before UK was able to close out the 9-8 victory.
Following the game, Lawson spoke to the media and talked about her team’s offense and pitching staff, and what her nerves were like during the late Texas A&M rally.
Lawson on how the 1st-inning grand slam was an immediate momentum builder… “Well, it’s great because, in the last two games, we started out where they scored two runs, I think, in both the first two games, so they had the momentum the entire time and we were always scratching to come back. So it’s nice to start this game with the lead. Obviously, we ended up needing it, but we had a lot of momentum through the first two. Our bats kind of went cold, they did a good job managing it, and I think we kind-of took our foot off the gas pedal a little bit. But overall, we were really happy to start fast; the defense played a lot better. We had a few miscues, but the defense definitely played a lot better than we have the last couple of games. And I thought Meghan [Schorman] did a great job to come in and close out the game.”
On the Aggies’ comeback in the late innings… “I think the biggest thing is that I’ve got to figure out our pitching staff… this is the first time that we’ve had so many quality pitchers, but one of the problems of having such a big pitching staff is that, individually, they don’t have a lot of innings for each person. We’ve had injuries here and there, so we just don’t have a flow of how the actual bullpen is going to work, who’s going to come in when, so that’s something that we have to figure out. But obviously, when they get momentum like that, if you can change pitchers in a hurry, a lot of times that helps keep them off-balance.”
On the decision to start Autumn Humes on Monday night… “They’re a great hitting team, and Autumn… she honestly probably threw three really bad pitches the entire series. They’re great… they’ve gotten so much better offensively; they have a dominant offense right now and I think they’re going to put up a lot of runs in the SEC, and Autumn does a nice job of keeping the ball in the park, keeping it in front of our defense and having them make plays, so that was the biggest thing in the first inning, to make sure the ball stayed in the infield and keep us calm and get us on the right side of it.”
On the benefits of winning their first SEC series of the year… “More than anything, I think the fact that the defense played a little bit better was what really gave us momentum, and [Miranda] Stoddard came in and really did a nice job, and that was helpful, so we’re seeing a lot of great things from young people, a lot of freshman stepping up, so we’ve got that, and we’ve still got a game Wednesday and hopefully that will also help get us ready to take it on down to Starkville.”
On her nerves in the late innings… “Let me tell you, I did get a little bit like ‘oh boy, here we go’, because they’ve obviously put up so many runs on us this weekend. We’re definitely going to have to figure that out, and you can’t help but get a little nervous when that happens and then you’re putting in a freshman [Stoddard] who hasn’t been in this situation in the SEC. Then Megan as a sophomore has some experience, but not a lot in that kind of situation, so I was really proud of those two for coming in and kind-of calming it down.”
On wearing a microphone for ESPN during the late rally… “You know, I didn’t even think about the mic; I stopped thinking about the mic about the fourth inning. I try to be genuine the entire time.”
On her offense stepping up on a night when star Alex Martens was a relative non-factor… “That’s one of the things that I love about this team, that we’re getting a lot of contributions from 1-9. To be honest with you, we also have a couple of players on the bench who are also really good, and there’s such a big competition for starting roles that I think it’s made for a really good team. The really cool thing about this team is that they know they have to have each other’s back, and they know they’re only as good as the person behind them. We are well-aware that people are going to pitch around Alex, and it’s nice to see people step up and do their part to make sure that we continue to move forward.”