Quotes from the Pre-Regional Press Conference
COACH TIM JAMIESON
"This is very exciting for us. We look forward to the opportunity to play in Starkville. This is my 4th regional here. I know what it is like. It is the first time for my players. It will be exciting for them.
"As far as how season went, I thought that we had a great year. We got off to a little bit of a slow year. We got swept by Texas at Texas. Then, we went on a nine-game winning streak in conference where we swept Kansas (3), Kansas State (3), Texas Tech (2) and Nebraska at Nebraska once before they beat us twice. From that point forward, we played very good baseball in the conference. Like the SEC, ACC, the Big 12 is a dominant baseball conference. You can't just show up and go through the motions.
"We finished 15-11 in conference and finished up behind three number 1 seeds in regionals. We had a quality year in just about every area. This ballclub is a true team. We don't have one player who is a go-to guy on the mound or offensively, but we have had several guys step up when it was their turn."
Who will you start against North Carolina?
"We are going to start Justin James. Justin has not missed a start since his freshman season. This is his second year. He has been in the rotation every Friday night for us since his freshman year. He has a 7-6 record but it's pretty deceiving. We've won a lot of games when he's had a no-decision. He has kept us in every baseball game that he has pitched. He has given us a chance to win against the Big 12's best pitchers. He has pitched well for us down the stretch."
What do you tell your kids about the atmosphere here?
"The good thing about the Big 12 is we draw great crowds on the weekend, so the crowd and the facility is kind of what we are used to playing in. Of course, the Left Field Lounge and the atmosphere is a little more intense or better than we have played at. We always tell these guys to enjoy it, get to know the people and enjoy it. It is part of the atmosphere, part of the experience. We want them to go out into the lounge and meet people because there is no place like it."
What is the strength of your team?
"Scoring runs. That was our strength throughout the season. We kind of hit a lull the last four games, offensively. We had a ten-day break between out last game and finals, and we didn't swing the bats the same after that. We were averaging close to 9 runs a game before that. When we swing the bats, we are a very difficult lineup to pitch to. For us to have a good weekend, we have to score runs. Our pitching is good, but not great."
Comments from Coach Jamieson about travelling down to Starkville for the regional.
"These guys got a taste of this regional when we stopped to eat in Batesville (Mississippi). One car stopped, pull over and asked us if we wanted to work out at the local baseball field. We had people say 'hey, are you the coach at Missouri?'. I didn't have anything to identify me and people were talking to players; they knew who we were. Back home, we have to wear uniforms for people to know who we are. I think they are starting to get a feel about how special this place is."
Do you know what your pitching rotation will be this weekend?
"No, we are going to wait and see who we are playing this weekend. We are going to do everything we can to win the first game. After that, we will decide on which guy to use. We may use one of the guys that we used in the conference or we may use someone out of the bullpen. The guys out of the bullpen have actually pitched better than our other two starters."
Talk about playing in this regional.
"It was one of our goals to get a regional. Getting to see our name pop up on the board and especially getting to go to Mississippi State was exciting because of the crowds and the atmosphere down here."
What did you think when you got out on the field and looked around and saw the left field lounge?
"When I was a senior in high school, there was a poster and our summer coach asked us what this poster was. Nobody knew, so he explained the atmosphere there. I know what to expect because I have seen a poster and I've heard a lot of stories about it."
What do you think you are going to have to do to get the offense going again?
"I think the slump may have just being due to the ten-day break. We didn't respond to it well. I think we just need to get our repetition back. I thought in BP we were hitting the ball well."
Talk about playing in this regional.
"Like Jayce said, this is what we worked so hard for. The last three years, we have just come up short. It feels really good to get into post-season play. It is a lot of fun to be here."
What did you think when you were on the field and looked around and saw the left field lounge?
"I had heard about it just before we came down here. Our coach told us about it. It is great. I told my dad about it and he said is it kind of like Rosenblatt? I told him they weren't exactly stands out there. They are RVs with seats on top. I told him you'll just have to see it when you get down here."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.