"We had two ground ball outs in the first inning, then we get the big home run. If that didn't happen and we hit another air ball or ground ball out to somebody, then the big inning doesn't occur. If you take that away we lose the ball game."
About Illinois' ball club?
"This is a good Illinois team. They are very athletic, especially their position playes. I love the shortstop (Eric Eymann). They swing the bat well. It is going to be a tough (game) tomorrow. I think their pitching is a little bit more depleted than ours because they aren't sure who they are going to throw (Sunday). We know who we are throwing tomorrow, Jeff Lacher."
What were your impressions of the pitching of Alan Johnson and Eric Ebers?
"Alan wasn't as sharp as he is going to be. He doesn't walk many people and he walked four today. He has had a little shoulder tightness but he feels good now. That was a good stretch for him. I think he ended up 82 to 83 pitches for him. Ebers is a guy that has a fastball, changeup and he can locate. He is very effective, especially against right-handers. I thought he did a good job, but he did hit two guys. One of them I thought stuck his elbow out. The other one he hit pretty good.
"We went into this game thinking we would use Ebers and possibly Josh Johnson. We have been able to save Josh and also save our closer, Brad Corley. We are in very good shape pitching wise for the third ball game."
Are you going to try to throw Brad Corley even if you don't need him in a closer situation Sunday?
"I think we might get him one inning (Sunday). I think that is good for him, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. I would like to get Josh Johnson in the ball game to get his feet wet. But a lot will depend on the game. Jeff (Lacher) might go 80 to 85 pitches in 7 innings. And we have a time limit (Sunday); no inning after 3:05. Last time we did that we ended up with a tie against Ohio State two years ago."
Talk a little more about Brad Corley's hitting.
"Brad is a sophomore. He is a more mature hitter. He has command of the strike zone a little better and has more bat discipline than he had last year. I think he is going to hit for a little bit more power than he did last year. I think he is capable of hitting 8 or 9 home runs."
Talk about Brian LaNinfa hitting, especially his power hitting.
"We know he is a good hitter. We haven't been hitting home runs in scrimmage games. I don't think we hit a home run at all (in the spring). We hit some in the fall but not many."
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.