A Q&A With Jarrod Parks

Mississippi State senior baseball player Jarrod Parks talks one-on-one with Gene's Page.

So far, during the spring you have really hit the ball well. Are you simply seeing the ball well right now or is it something else?
"We don't have six weeks to prepare like we did in the fall. We just have a few weeks, so I'm trying to get game ready as fast as I can. I'm feeling good right now, but I'm sure I will go through some bad times during the season."

You and Nick Vickerson are competing at third. How has it helped you to have someone as good as Nick competing against you?
"Whenever you have somebody that is really good next to you, that always makes you want to step up your game. We are really good friends and we help each other out but it's a battle. Even though we are good friends we are still battling each other."

The new bats are supposed to hurt the power numbers this year. With the way you are hitting, are the new bats actually helping your hitting?
"I'm just trying to square up on the ball. I don't really consider myself a huge home run threat anyway. I didn't consider myself that even when we used the other bats. I'm just trying to square it up and if the wind is blowing and it goes out I'm fine with it."

Fielding and hitting-wise, how does this team compare to last year's team?
"I think we are going to have a lot more speed in the outfield. The outfield is going to be great (defensively). We are so deep in the outfield. And our defense in the infield is going to be more solid.

"Hitting-wise, we aren't going to have as much power, but I think we are going to be a quick lineup, a scrappy lineup. Bunt runners over then get them in, shoot the ball through the four-hole, hit and run, run and hit, fake bunts. That's going to be our game."

I don't know if you realize this but during the first two weeks of spring scrimmages, after you take out the strikeouts and infield popups, the outs have been 2.5 to 1 groundball outs to flyball outs. Is that the bats or is it the MSU pitchers causing that? I say the pitchers because MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson emphasizes keeping the ball low in the strikezone.
"I don't really think it has to do with the bats. I think our pitchers are doing a good job of staying low and creating the sinking movement that every pitch wants to get. They've done a great job of that so far."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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