MSU Defeats MTSU 10-4

[Premium Article] Number 1 seed Mississippi State, before 10,284 fans, defeated number 4 seed Middle Tennessee State 10-4 in the second game of the Starkville Regional last night. MSU will face North Carolina at 3 p.m. Saturday. The loser of that game will face the winner of the 11 a.m. game between MTSU and Missouri at 7 p.m. Saturday night. MSU's Ron Polk and several players talked about the MTSU game.

Post-Game Press Conference Quotes

MSU Coach Ron Polk

Opening Comments

"It is always to win that first ballgame. I thought that we put some decent at-bats together early. I'm sure Kline was disappointed and probably has pitched better. We got 8 hits off of him in 2 innings. One negative thing, we did strike out 11 times. That Horseman kid came in and knocked us down a little bit.

"I thought that early in the game they hit some balls in play pretty well. We can never take anything for granted. Thankfully, Saunders Ramsey came in and threw strikes when we had the lead."

Have you ever scored a runner from first on a throw back to the pitcher?
"No, that was an unusual play. I took a chance because it was two outs. If there was one out, I would have held him up. I think that Steve was more surprised than I was, because everything was behind him."

Talk about the play where Thomas Berkery went down (on a foul ball).
"The ball hit the top of his foot. There isn't much meat on the top of your foot. It hit some nerves, I'm sure. He was in a lot of pain. By the time, he started walking around, the numbness kind of helped out a little bit. I've seen kids get hit badly with a ball off their foot right there. I think he is OK. I think it will be little sore tomorrow, but I think he will be alright."

What is the status of Todd Nicholas?
"Todd is not on the 25-man roster."

A couple of freshmen came through today. Talk about the younger players. (The freshmen hitters were 6-for-17.-Gene)
"Craig Tatum and Thomas Berkery are redshirt freshmen, but they are still freshmen. We have been playing four and five freshmen just about all year. I think by now, they are like sophomores because they have played a lot of ballgames. They are our future. They are good players and will get better."

What are your thoughts about North Carolina?
"I saw most of the game from upstairs. We are going to put a scouting report together tonight and have it for the boys tomorrow. I talked to a few coaches about them, but, more specifically Coach Daron Schoenrock and Tommy Raffo have done extensive work on them individually. My conversations with coaches that are friends of mine, was that they are a good ballclub. Everyone has said they are a very good ballclub. They are a ballclub that has had success just about all year. It will be a good contest tomorrow, but they are also going to face a pretty good Mississippi State team, also."

MSU Paul Maholm

Talk about working with that early lead.
"Whenever you pitch with a 4-run lead, it is huge. Our offense did a great job in the first inning. You try and go out there and throw strikes."

What kind of stuff did you have tonight.
"Early, most everything was working, then I got a little wild and my curveball wasn't as good. Then, they started hitting a lot of fastballs."

Were you just tired?
"I don't know if I was getting tired. Whenever you go out there with a huge lead, you just try and throw fastballs in there for strikes. I was getting behind a little. When they sit on a fastball, it is pretty easy to hit."

What did you know about their hitters?
"They were hot as of late, so I knew they were going to be putting the ball in play. We had a scouting report on them, and it went pretty good. Their 3 and 4 guys swing pretty good bats. I just went out there and tried to throw my game."

MSU Matthew Maniscalco

Their coach and players said they may have been intimidated by this environment. Can you see that happening when a team comes here?
"No doubt. You can just look at this place. It's tops in the nation in our minds, especially with the fans that we have, as crazy as they get out in the outfield. When we were watching infield-outfield, they were looking like they were a little shaky. We were hoping that would get into their heads during the game and we believe it did."

How big was the five-run 5th inning?
"It was big. We jumped up early but there comes a time in the game when you have to finish the deal. Sometimes, during the regular season and even the big games, you kind of lull through some boring innings and you kind of take it for granted that you are up by 4 or 5 runs. You never know when a team might score 4 or 5 runs in any inning, so it was huge for us to come out and score 5 runs."

Talk about how much this win helped your confidence going into the North Carolina game.
"We were not lacking confidence. I think you guys have said a lot more about that than we have even thought about. A couple of us didn't swing that well in the SEC Tournament, but we know that we will. We never lose confidence. We came out here just as confident as we did against LSU in that last game."

MSU Steve Gendron

Talk about your offense today. Today, it looked better than it did in the SEC Tournament.
"We knew we had to come out and swing the bats if we wanted to win. When we hit the ball, we always win because our pitching is so solid and our defense is solid, too. I think that batting average in Birmingham was kind of misleading, because we swung the bats well in that tournament. A lot of guys were hitting the ball, but they weren't falling. Today, everything was falling for us and that helped us win the game."


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 swindoll@genespage.com.


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