1-on-1 With Junior INF Matt Spruill

Mississippi State junior infielder Matt Spruill talks one-on-one with Gene's Page.

  • Name: Matt Spruill
  • Position: Infield
  • Class: Junior
  • HT: WT: 6-foot-1,190
  • Bats-Throws: R-R
  • High School: Lake Braddock Secondary (Burke, VA)
  • Junior College: Panola (TX) Junior College

  • How did you wind up at Mississippi State?
    "Last fall I was in junior college and (Mississippi State) does a lot of recruiting with Panola, with (Brett) Pirtle and (Nick) Ammirati. So, they had a reputation with the Mississippi State coaches. My head coach called them up and asked them to look at (me). I was injured at the time they came to visit me. They had me play some defense and then had me come for a visit."

    What did the Mississippi State coaches say they liked about you?
    "My quickness and my attentiveness during a couple of games that they saw. They felt like I was into the game on each pitch. They liked my arm and my actions defensively."

    What other schools looked at you recruiting-wise?
    "I was going to go to Arkansas for a visit but after I visited Mississippi State I committed a couple of days later. My coach told me there were several other schools that were interested, schools like NC State, but Arkansas and Mississippi State were the only two that contacted me personally."

    What did you like about Mississippi State?
    "I liked how nice the people were, how welcoming everyone was, the players, the coaches. (MSU assistant) Coach Ming (Nick Mingione) was great recruiting me. He was open with me about everything. And once I met (MSU head) Coach (John) Cohen, there was just something about him and I knew he was the right coach."

    How do you compare to Brett Pirtle, another Panola CC player and also an infielder?
    "He was a very heads up player. I'm more 100% all of the time. He was more of a relaxed player while I am on all of the time."

    You mentioned that you go 100% all of the time. When you get to this level you want to slow the game down. Is that something that the coaches are working with you on?
    "Yeah it is. Coach has me take deep breaths when I'm on the field whenever I can. I'm also working on my fundamentals. Instead of doing 100 reps a day, they are having me do 50 quality reps."

    How have you adjusted from going 100 miles per hour all the time to slowing things down on the field?
    "It is really tough. But I have been told that I need to slow the game down because going fast all the time has gotten me in trouble at times. I still go 100% but it's in the right areas, such as hustling down the line."

    How does that relate to hitting? You really can't go 100 miles per hour when you are hitting.
    "A lot of times I over-analyze hitting. So, they have gotten me to react, and not think so much hitting-wise. They want me to do what comes natural to me. And that has been working because I have seen a lot of improvement hitting-wise."

    What kind of improvements have you seen with your hitting?
    "The curveball machine we use in practice, when I first got here it was so difficult that I couldn't handle it. Now, when I go against it, it's like I'm 1000 times better than the first day that I was here."

    Was the curveball something that gave you trouble in junior college?
    "Yeah, it was. Now, being able to handle the curveball will open up doors, big-time, as far as hitting goes."

    What has it being like being at Mississippi State for the past couple of months?
    "It has been great. I knew the workload would be a heavy here and it has been but we have the resources to help everybody with that. It has been a dream come true."

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

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