"I have always liked offense but I don't want to sacrifice defense. I think we can do that with this ball club. We can put a team on the field that is sound defensively and the best offensive lineup that we can put together. I thought that we played very well defensively this weekend. (The error today) was a tough play for (Tyler) Scarbrough because the guy was really barrelling down on him. I think he would have gotten him. The only other error this weekend was a ball that hit the lip (of the infield) and got under Jeffrey (Rea)."
Has Brian LaNinfa surprised you this weekend with his hitting?
"He's a good hitter to begin with. He's a guy who can put the ball out of the ball park."
Do you think that Brian has made a pretty good case for the DH spot?
"Yeah, against right-handers he has. We have some choices when a left-hander throws. Not that Brian can't hit left-handers, but I have a pretty good bench. We can make some moves. But it's nice to have him hitting the way he is hitting."
Do you expect to use different lineups for right-handers and left-handers?
"Yeah, but not a lot of changes. We have kids who can play. If you only had 9 guys and no bench at all, then we would play those nine against everybody. But we have some people who can match up pretty good."
Has this team's hitting surprised you, especially the home runs?
"We aren't a home run hitting team. All of you guys (reporters) could have hit it out today with the wind the way it was. We've been playing all fall without this wind. We probably hit more home runs in the first three games than we did all fall and early season. The wind hasn't been blowing out. In fact, it has been blowing in. But, at the same time, I thought that we swung the bats very good this weekend against pretty good pitching. But we will be tested much better very, very soon."
MSU pitching coach Darron Schoenrock
How do you feel Josh Johnson did during his first outing as a Bulldog?
"He was fine. We got him down in the bullpen on Saturday and actually got him ready to go into the ball game. That helped calm his nerves, so he was ready for it today. We wanted to get his feet wet, so we wanted to get him a couple of innings and get a feel for a game at Dudy Noble. He has a lot of talent and is going to be fun to watch during his career here."
Did he have his good velocity today?
"We didn't clock him but I saw a lot of late foul balls from the right-handed hitters, so the ball was jumping a little bit for him. We just have to get him in a position where he can still handle things ahead in the count and put away hitters ahead in the count. That will come with time."
Did you talk with him during the innings? If so, what did he say?
"He was fine. He was real calm, a lot calmer than he was yesterday. I think he has a very bright future for us. The next thing is to try and figure out what role we are going to pitch him in."
Are any of the other freshmen pitchers going to pitch this year?
"Potentially, Andy Wilson. We are holding out a little bit there. We just want to go through our staff one time and see how we can handle left-handed hitters. I think Andy is ready. He is mature enough. It's just a point where we have to decide if we want to use a year on just a few innings."
I know you want to use Brad Corley as a closer. He pitched an inning today.
"Of course, it is tough getting the reps as a pitcher when you are playing right field. What you hope happens is the more times you can get him in that situation the better chance you have of answering some questions before the start of the conference season. He has devastating stuff when he is in the strike zone. He never gives up very many hard hit balls. Today, we didn't really get to show his stuff because, basically, we were just trying to pound fastballs in."
When do you plan on using him again?
"We have to get him back out there in one of these next two ball games."
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.