MSU baseball players talk about their win

Mississippi State baseball players talked about their 8-0 win over Tennessee Tech. With the win, Mississippi State goes to 7-0 on the young season.

Sophomore outfielder Jeff Butts (1-for-3, 1 triple, 2 RBI)

Once again you had a big scoring margin.
"We have a real good hitting lineup this year and one through nine is capable of hitting the ball. Today, it took a little bit to get going. If one guy can't get it done, the next guy is there to get it done. That's how you win ball games."

You have good hitting depth on the bench as well.
"We have a lot of sticks, even on the bench this year. It makes it fun because every guy can swing the bat really well."

Are you surprised how well the team is hitting the ball?
"Not really. However, I think a lot of people didn't expect us to hit the ball this well. Because of that, I don't think we are as surprised as a lot of other people are."

Talk about the triple you hit in the bottom of the 2nd inning to make the score 2-0.
"I got a fastball that I could handle and I just happened to hit it in the gap. I didn't get the stop sign, so I took off."

The competition level is about to go up a notch with South Alabama and Southern Cal this week. Talk about that.
"I think everybody is ready. We've played some good clubs, but everybody is ready to face some stiffer competition."

People are surprised with the hitting, but the pitching has also looked really good in the first seven games.
"Jeff Lacher did a great job today. He was pumping the strike zone. We also have a lot of guys in the bullpen who are ready to step up."

Defensively, you guys have played pretty good, so far, even though guys have been moved around, especially in the infield.
"Steve Gendron is real good and has been able to make the move (from third base to shortstop) and so has Thomas Berkery (from second base to third base). We also have the freshman, Jeffrey Rea, at second base. They work hard and work good together as a squad."

You also have some depth in the outfield with four guys starting sometime during the season and a couple of others that are pushing you.
"We all push each other, but it is good competition and makes us all better."

Senior shortstop Steve Gendron (1-for-4, 1 double, 1 RBI)

Was it difficult to hit their pitcher because he was so wild?
"He kind of scared me my first at-bat because the first pitch he threw me was behind me. He was probably throwing 88-89. A lot of times you are kind of feeling the pitcher out to see what he has got. After that, we started to hit a little bit. Sometimes, it takes a little time to get your feeling down when a guy is a better pitcher."

It seems like you are doing that same thing with all the teams this year.
"A lot of times with your first at-bat it is tough to get a read on the pitcher. I know if I get a hit my first at-bat, I'm excited because I have a feeling that I'm going to have a great day."

The competition, with South Alabama and Southern Cal coming in, steps up a notch this coming week.
"South Alabama has always played us good since I have been here, although I have heard that they are struggling a little bit. But the mid-week games are very important and you have to win them to host (an NCAA tournament). We are looking at South Alabama first and will play them hard and everybody is excited about (playing) USC and I hope we get some good crowds. I don't know much about them, although we played them my freshman year and they had a first-round pick Mark Pryor."

You are 7-0 and you probably expected to be 7-0, but are you surprised it has come so easy?
"I told Coach Rock that I don't think I have played an entire game this season. It is a good feeling. We have a lot of guys who can really swing the bat. I think, one through nine, they can all hit. We even have players sitting on the bench that are great hitters. That is a great problem to have as a team. I think we have a chance to make a good run on a bunch of folks in the SEC this year."

Has the good weather helped the hitting?
"This is the first year ever where it has actually been nice weather (to start the season). Usually, it has been cold and raining. Whenever it is nice weather, people seem to hit the ball pretty well. We have some strong guys up there who can really hit. They hit the ball in the air, it is going to get out of the park."

What is your evaluation of the pitchers, so far?
"I think the pitchers are doing a heck of a job. Jamie (Gant) and Jeff (Lacher), this weekend and last weekend, both looked great. This weekend, I thought that Jamie looked dominant. I'm hoping that he can continue that kind of success. Alan (Johnson) is on a rehab stint, but he was great last weekend and I know he will be good when he comes back. We also have a lot of young guys throwing who are doing fine. As long as the balls are not flying out of the park, I could care less because we are making plays on defense."

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 You can contact him by emailing

Gene's Page Top Stories