You have been through two regionals while at Mississippi State. How does that help you to carry over to the other players what to expect from a regional?
"It helps knowing that I have been through it because I can tell the guys how things kind of work in terms of like off the field, pre-game, things like that. It is not always the same as it has been all year. They have to treat it like it is another game, another weekend SEC series. That is how we will have success, play loose and play hard like we have been playing."
I know you say treat it like another game but the crowds will say otherwise.
"Yeah, we have to try not to pay attention to the crowd until after the game. It is amazing having that crowd behind us. I think it is a huge advantage for us. We love all of our fans but at the same time we have to focus on the next pitch and do the things that we have been doing."
I think Southeast Missouri State played in front of an average of 898 fans per home game. There could be ten times more fans at the Friday game than that average. That has to be a little intimidating for them.
"Definitely. I have played in front of some tough crowds myself. Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss all have tough crowds, just to name a few. But going into a regional, a super regional and onto Omaha a crowd is something that you can't pay attention to. But it is going to be a factor for sure. If you are a team coming here who hasn't had much attendance it is a different experience. And experience you don't understand until you have played in it."
This is your fourth year at Mississippi State. What makes this team so special?
"I think we have a lot of talented players who work hard and understand how things work. We have some older, more mature guys who have been in the SEC who weren't necessarily shining until this year. An example is Dakota (Hudson). He is carrying our pitching staff in the first game of every weekend. And a lot of the younger guys are following suit with Dakota and Austin Sexton and how they carry themselves and how they respond in certain situations. And we have a lot of older guys who are helping the younger guys. The last thing about this team is we really care about each other. We have a lot of really good team chemistry going on."
Are you surprised there is such good team chemistry because there are a lot of new guys who are playing a lot such as Jack Kruger, Nate Lowe and Elih Marrero?
"I think it is rare to have good team chemistry. But when Jack came here he instantly clicked with a bunch of us, including myself. He is one of the closet guys on the team to me. We hang out every day. But yeah, it is rare to find a group of guys who are this close. I don't know if I have ever been on a team that is this close. And that is huge for us."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network.