You are a fifth-year senior. You have been through a lot since you have been here. You have been to regionals, been to the College World Series, been through four falls. Do you feel like this is your team this year?
"I do. I don't mean anything by that but this is my fifth year here. There are no ifs, ands or buts about that. I feel like I have seen everything. I have been in the same shoes as the first-year players that are going to be redshirted. I have been through successes of MSU baseball, through the lows. I can be a testimony of any aspect that a player will go through at this level, moreso than it being my team. That would be a better way of putting it."
Is that more pressure on you or is it more like what you how it to be?
"That is what I play for. That is kind of my high, what gets me going. The big situations, the tension, that is what makes me play well. That is something that I enjoy and like."
As example of that is how well you played on the biggest stage in college baseball, the College World Series.
"That is what I have always done, not just here at Mississippi State. I feel like I am that kind of player who wants that kind of pressure. I like being in the big situation. I put myself in that situation mentally even when I'm not on the baseball field."
As a leader, how do you transfer that kind of feeling over to your team?
"I think the main thing is putting yourself in that position everyday, not just when we start intersquads. You put yourself in a big situation mentally when you are doing a drill work. You always have to put yourself in that moment no matter what you are doing. If you don't do it until the actual moment, then it is going to be difficult to do it then."
You aren't just a leader by example. You are comfortable being a vocal leader as well, aren't you?
"I see the game from all perspectives. When I am at first base I'm not just thinking about what I need to do. I'm trying to think about things that I can do or say to help everybody around me. I feel like that was something that I was taught at a young age when my dad coached me. I thought about everything. But I played all positions. I came in here as a pitcher, too. So, I feel like I have a little knowledge with that part of the game as well. I was also a shortstop and a third baseman in middle school. I guess I have had that mindset for all positions throughout my life."
You are into your fifth year. Is there a little bit of difference between you and the other guys when it comes to the coaches here at MSU due to that? What I mean by that is you know them so well and what they want that you are like another coach on the field?
"Yeah, we are on the same page about a lot of things. I know what to expect from them and they know what to expect from me. I guess you could say there are no surprises anymore. I know what is going to happen everyday when we come here for practice. I know what they expect out of everybody, not just me. I feel like I can be that guy who helps the other guys get through those tough situations on any given day."
As a friend of theirs, what are your thoughts about Kendall Graveman and Hunter Renfroe doing so well in the pro game?
"Of course congratulations to Kendall for his accomplishments. My hat goes off to them for just being able to do that. They go from 60 ballgames to 140 ballgames. I know the grind and what they go through. It's a lot harder than what people think it is. It's not just going up there and playing baseball."
What are your hopes for this year's team and also for your personally?
"Of course, like any senior you want to go out on top, individually and team-wise. You can talk about the individual stuff, but playing everyday you would hope that your individual stuff does look good because you know it will contribute to the success of your team. I have seen five senior classes with me being a part of this one. I have seen what they take in and what they miss. It will be fun."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.