MTSU Coach Steve Peterson
"Great atmosphere. I made statements to the papers that I thought that we would feed off the atmosphere, but defensively, we did not. The first couple of innings I thought there were some defensive plays that we had an opportunity to make and we didn't. If we could have made those plays, who knows what could have happened. I just think that we might have got caught up a little bit in the surroundings and the background of the crowd and things like that. I think that affected us a little bit and Steve (Kline) didn't have his stuff.
"Offensively, I have to give all the credit to Maholm. He pitched a great game, moved the ball around, hit his spots. He didn't try to get into a throwing contest of trying to overthrow. He is very well-coached and is being thought of as a first round draft pick and I can see why. He definitely has the arm to run a fastball in on you, but once he figured out how he wanted to pitch our hitters, he really stayed with his knitten and carved some of our guys up early. He probably got a little tired, his pitch count got up in the 80's in the 5th inning. He is a quality, quality left-handed pitcher, one of the tops in the United States."
Talking about the big MSU crowd.
"When you are looking into the background of a crowd, when you are out in the field and you are looking into that big of a situation, the first time you have ever done it, it can be intimidating. It can easily break your concentration. That's why guys spend three, four years in the minor league. You talk to a big leaguer the first time he gets to a major league ballpark, it is sometimes intimidating. I don't think it is anything to be ashamed of. I saw some things happen tonight that we haven't done in the past 20 games. I have to say we didn't handle the environment real good. But, this was a great environment. It was everything we thought it was going to be, everything we talked about and more. It would have been even greater if it had been a 2-1 to 3-1 ballgame, but we didn't do our job to make it that way."
MTSU Josh Archer
Talk about going against Maholm and the opportunities that you had in the middle of the game against him.
"It seemed like when he had to make a pitch he did. We had some guys on early, but there might have been two outs. But those are the biggest RBIs in the game. It just seemed like we would either chase a good curveball - when he wanted to throw a two-strike curveball against a right-hander, it was pretty good - or when he made mistakes we didn't hit them. Not to take anything away from him, he pitched a good game. But, I really think we had our opportunities and we didn't capitalize on them."
Do you think the crowd got to you guys early in the game?
"I really don't know. I can't speculate on what other people thought. As far as I'm concerned, the crowd made me even more excited. I want to get back to that environment. I want to play in that again because there were 10,000 people there which was double what I had been in front of. That was great. I know that nine-tenths of them were rooting against me but that made me want to win even more."
It was a really big crowd, but not as loud as it was big. Was it really intimidating due to the noise or was it the fact that there were people everywhere?
"That was the main thing. When something would happen, they would get loud. But as far as constantly not being able to hear, having problems talking to people, we didn't have a problem with that. Early in the game, they got up big and that was huge. One thing that I thought that we needed to do was take the crowd out early, but it went the other way for us."
MTSU Steve Kline
How did you feel in the pen and how did that translate out on the mound?
"When I was in the pen, I felt good, my arm felt good. When I got in the game, I don't have any excuses at all. I just got the ball up. They took advantage of my mistakes. You can't do that against good ballclubs."
What happened on that error throw back to you from the catcher?
"Harp told me that was why he kept coming and grabbing the resin. He said the sweat on his arm kept dripping on his hand. The ball got wet and sailed on him."
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.