Brad Corley (3-for-5, 1 double, 1 home run, 3 RBI)
You hit a home run today. Do you feel you are starting to get the power back that you showed in high school?
"I'm just trying to come out and hit it hard. I got lucky and got one up in the air. I hit the double hard but I just didn't get it up in the air. If it goes out, it goes out. I'm just trying to get hits."
The team really seems to be hitting well as a team.
"Our bats are hot right now. Everybody is coming out and swinging the bats good. We are trying to hit the ball on the ground and hit line drives and stay away from the popups. It's working good for us now."
Were you in the plans for mound duty today?
"If (Eric) Ebers got in trouble in the last inning I was supposed to come in and close it out, but he settled down, so they didn't need me."
Do you look forward to double duty as a position player and pitcher?
"Yeah, I was ready to go in. I can't wait to get on the mound and prove myself there this year."
Are they going to make sure you pitch this weekend?
"They are going to use me only if they need me. They want to save my arm for the outfield."
Brian LaNinfa (2-for-3, 1 home run, 3 RBI)
The ball must be looking good right now because you have hit a home run in each of the first two games.
"I was down 0-2 and I was looking for something to hit and he threw me a slider that he left up. And I got a good piece of it and got lucky."
Had you been hitting this well in the pre-season scrimmages?
"Not in the spring. My swing was messed up. The coaches and I worked hard to get it back to where it was. Now I'm feeling great up there. I feel good and the balls are coming in good."
Illinois is a better team than Western Kentucky, but, like you did to Western Kentucky, you jumped on them early and got ahead on the scoreboard.
"Yes sir, we came out firing again. The word in the clubhouse was we were going to come out and set the pace at the very beginning of the game and we did. But they have a good club and battled back. It was a great game"
Eric Ebers (Won the game, 4.1 innings, 5 hits, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 earned runs)
How did it feel to get your first win as a Bulldog against your home state team?
"I have been working for this all fall. I wanted to pitch against U of I and I got the chance to do it today. To get your first win in Division-I baseball is great. To get it against the university of your state, it feels even better."
What pitches were working for you today?
"My changeup and fastball were working good. We spotted a curveball every now and then. Today, I was just trying to get the ball in play, making them hit ground balls."
Your velocity looked a little better than it did in the fall. Do you feel you were throwing harder today than you did in the fall?
"I guess I am throwing a little harder thant I was in the fall. The weight program that (assistant strength coach) Shannon (Patterson) has us on has definitely made me feel stronger and bigger."
What kind of weight program is it?
"It is a lot of power stuff, especially with us pitchers with our legs."
Were you nervous since it was your first game as a Bulldog pitcher?
"I was a little bit nervous the first time, especially with my roommate (Ryan Rogowski) from last year on deck. I was a little nervous and wanted to get him out a couple of times. But the crowd and cowbells going made me feel right at home."
How did you do against your roommate?
"I got him to pop out and strike out. It was kind of weird."
How big was it to you when Coach Polk left you in when you ran into trouble in the 7th inning?
"It was nice. It showed that he has confidence in me. You see guys in the bullpen but you don't see Coach Polk looking at you like, 'are you ready to come out.' When you get into trouble, you want to get out of it.
"AJ (Alan Johnson) pitched a great game today. I hated to see him not come out with the win. You like to see your starter go 5 (innings) so he can come out with the win."
Since they plan on using you as a starter, how strong did you feel after going 4.1 innings?
"I felt good. I could have probably gone one or two more innings. But it was a lot of mental stress since it was my first time out."
Where do they have you set in the pitching plans this spring?
"Right now, they have me going Tuesdays. But, after going 4 and a third today, I don't know."
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 email@example.com.