A Q&A With MSU Baseball Players

A Q&A with Mississippi State baseball players Cody Freeman, Brent Brownlee and Wes Thigpen after their team won the NCAA Atlanta baseball regional.

Cody Freeman

What does it mean to you to be going to a Super Regional your senior season at Mississippi State?
"I am so excited. We fought our hearts out the entire year. Tonight is the result of what we have done the whole year. But we aren't finished."

Hitting-wise you jumped on their pitcher early. You did that in the other games as well. What is it about this offense right now?
"I think our bats were alive the entire tournament. ."

It really seemed like every aspect of your team played well - hitting, fielding and pitching.
"I don't we have played this good the entire year and it was the right time to play this well."

What are your thoughts about going to Gainesville, Florida to play the University of Florida?
"We've already played them this year so we know what they have and what they are going to do. And I feel like we can hang with them."

How much will having played them help your team?
"We've almost beat them a couple of other times. But we can say almost all day long. These next three games we are about to play are the biggest one of our careers."

As a catcher, what are your thoughts about the State pitchers during the regional?
"I really think they took care of their bodies the entire week. They really prepared themselves to pitch in these situations and they did it."

Brent Brownlee

What are your thoughts about winning the Atlanta Regional?
"It is huge. When Cody (Freeman), Ryan Collins and I were seniors in high school (Mississippi State) went to the College World Series that year. And we expected that as well. But we've had a few down years Now, we are excited to be where we are right now."

What was it about this team? It's like the entire team has taken it to another level.
"We felt, due to the effort we had put forth against SEC teams who are all good, we would come out with victories in this whole regionals."

You almost made the three wins look easy. Does that say something about the SEC and the competition you face in the SEC?
"No doubt, no doubt. I think the SEC is right there at the top. You said we made it look easy but we came out and scored in the first inning of every game. That was huge getting a good start."

How important was the great fan support to the team?
"Our fan support was huge. I felt like they were louder than any fans of any school here. And I felt like they were louder at the SEC Tournament as well. It is huge to have good fan support like that. I wish we could host a Super Regional for them but Florida got that."

You have another year left. How much does playing in a regional and knowing you are going to play in a Super Regional help this team for next year?
"You get to feel what it is like. So, next year you can tell the guys what it's like and to never give up so we can go back again."

Even though it was the first regional for all the players on this team, no one seemed the least bit intimated by it. It was almost like this was a team that had played in regionals before.
"I think playing in the SEC helped us. (Every weekend) all the game are big in the SEC. So, when we came here it was at that level."

Did going to the SEC Tournament help the team prepare this type regional atmosphere?
"I think it did. It was a different place with a lot of good teams. Plus, we went two and out there so we wanted to step up this weekend and not go two and out again. So, I think it motivated us."

Wes Thigpen

MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson gave you a lot of credit for the performance of the pitching staff during the Atlanta regional. What magic potion did you give them (laugh)?
"(laugh) No, they did a good job of throwing strike one like we had preached all week. When you get ahead in the count it does wonders for you with these new bats."

Did you see these kind of performances coming?
"We knew we were good. Nobody else may have believed in us but we did. We told ourselves to stick together and we could be a great team because we are a really close team."

What were you doing with them throughout the game?
"I was just trying to set up a big target for them, just try to frame some balls for them, make them look like small misses even when they were big misses."

What did Luis Pollorena have going for him during his start?
"I think Luis threw a first pitch fastball to ever single hitter. And I don't know if he threw a ball on any first pitch. He got the hitters out on front throwing a good cutter. He just early outs and that's who he is. And when he got in tough battles he kept throwing strikes."

What did Evan Mitchell have going for him during his start?
"Evan had his real good curveball, which he worked so hard on this year. And he's got a great sinker. He throws a very heavy fastball that he can get on both sides of the plate on righties and lefties. He's so effortless and the ball gets on you so quick."

What did Nick Routt have going for him during his start?
"He really got his fastball to both sides of the plate. At times he struggled to get his second pitch over but when he needed it he got it."

What do you do as a catcher to help the pitchers during the game?
"The first time through the lineup you pretty much have one thing going, then you adjust after that first at-bat. If you see they are trying to go out on you, they you may go inside on them. But you are always trying to make adjustments."

How much were you involved in calling pitches during the regional games?
"I called Luis' entire game. I called most of Evan's game. And for Routt, I probably called from the 6th inning on. I'm glad that Coach Thompson has enough trust in me to let me call the game. We all worked together to put together a good scouting report. And I really studied them and they really helped me out."

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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