(Reid Humphreys) Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Mississippi State left fielder Reid Hunphreys shares his thoughts on this weekend's regional.

SEC Champion Mississippi State will look to take the next step towards Omaha later today as the Bulldogs host Southeast Missouri in game one of the Starkville Regional. The Bulldogs will need to win five games to get to the promised land of college baseball where the Nebraska cornfields go on forever. Humphreys reports that his squad is focused on winning tournament game number one rather than looking ahead to what may be.

"Obviously, this is what we wanted," Humphreys said of hosting as a national seed. "We get to host a regional and we have a chance to host a super regional. We feel good about where we're at and we're glad to be in the position we're in.

"It's going to be a tough road for sure, because the teams coming in here this weekend are all really good teams. We know it's not going to be anything easy, but we're prepared."

The quality of competition in the Starkville Regional features three conference champions, Cal State Fullerton, Mississippi State and Southeast Missouri and one of the hottest teams in Conference-USA, Louisiana Tech. 

Hunphreys reports that any team selected is a worthy opponent, but the quality of the clubs at Dudy Noble this weekend require some undivided attention.

"We feel like we've been able to stay focused," Humphreys said. "You never know what is going to happen in a tournament. In Hoover, there were a lot of great teams there and I think that helped us prepare for this weekend. We feel good about it."

The Bulldogs suffered their share of setbacks last season, but the returning players felt they had a good chance of making a dramatic turn around this year. With an SEC title now in the books, the Diamond Dawgs are ready to keep adding to the 2016 ledger.

"You never really know what is going to happen, but we knew we had the pieces," Humphreys said. "We just needed to come together and it all worked out. Everybody sort of showed up and we learned to play together. It's worked out for sure."

Humphreys had the chance to cheer for his older brother, Tyler Moore, as a Bulldog, but the younger sibling will have the chance to make a memory his older brother never did.

"He never got to play in a regional, but he's played in some even bigger things," Humphreys said. "He has played in the Major League baseball divisional series, so he has a lot more experience than me in things like this. To be able to play in a regional in Starkville is special and to be able to play in a Super regional would be even more special.

"We're focused and we want to keep this season going."

Humphreys was recruited out of Northwest Rankin as a shortstop. After a short time at third, the former blue chipper made the move to the outfield where he has flourished as a left fielder and closer. To say it has been a winding road would be putting it mildly.

"You know I don't know how it all happened," Humphreys grinned. "I guess it's just all part of God's plan. Everyday brings something new and I just try to attack it. We have a lot of great players and we just needed to find the right spot for everybody. I am just happy to be on the field."

While the Bulldogs returned some talented players, the SEC title is perhaps unlikely with the addition of some talented junior college transfers, Jack Kruger and Nathaniel Lowe. Humphreys reports that the first year Bulldogs were able to mesh well with the team early on.

"Those guys are phenomenal," Humphreys said of his fellow juniors. "They've both come in and be a big part of our line-up. Their attitude towards the game and towards everybody on the team has been a big part of things for us. We couldn't have asked anything more from those two guys.

"Early in the fall, we knew they were going to help us. You could just look at them and tell that they had the ability. It was just about them staying focused and getting the job done. They've both done that."

Capacity crowds are expected this weekend with some of the top ticket tallies anticipated as a rule of thumb in Starkville. For Humphreys, the weekend provides a bit of a celebration of how far this team has come in a year.

"I am just excited about being out there with the team," Humphreys said. "I have been through a lot here in my time at Mississippi State. This is one of those moments where you just look around and take it in for a minute.

"This is all special and it's what we want. We are glad to be able to be here and we know our fans are going to show up. I have no doubt that there will probably be 15,000 people there. I think it's important for everybody to just take it all in."


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