MSU Players and Coaches Talk About Loss

Several Mississippi State players and coaches discussed their 10-6 loss to Texas Tech in the opening round of the NCAA Atlanta Regional.


Talk about playing in an NCAA Regional game for the first time.
"I was a little bit nervous at the first. I hadn't pitched in a couple of weeks and didn't know how well I would throw. I wanted to go out there and make a good impression so that I might get more playing time later on."

You did pretty well except for the one hit you gave up.
"The first guy that I faced (Josh Brady) had a good day. I think he was four for five and had hit his 20th home run today. He is a good hitter. I got behind on him and he was looking for a pitch to hit and he hit it. The next guy comes up and does his job by moving him over. And the next guys comes up and hit a sac fly to knock him in."

Do you feel, because you threw just a few pitches, that you can come back and pitch Saturday?
"Yes sir, I can probably come back (Saturday) or Sunday. I just have to see how (my arm) feels (Saturday)."


This was your first regional. Were you a little nervous coming into the game?
"Not really. It wasn't as intimidating as I thought it would be. Playing in the SEC every weekend was probably more intimidating.

"We knew Texas Tech had a great offensive team, but we didn't know much about their pitching. It looked average at best on paper. But their guy came in and threw great."

You know you have to come out and win Saturday or it's over for you guys.
"We have to win two games Saturday, then two games Sunday to stay in (regional play). I believe we can do it. Our pitching is ok. The guys who came in late only threw an inning or two each."

Talk about their pitcher, Dallas Braden.
"He worked it in on us well. We had a lot of trouble with the inside pitches. He mixed it up and had a really good changeup and wasn't afraid to throw it anytime during the count."

(Jeffrey had his hand in an ice pack) What's wrong with your hand?
"My thumb has been messed up for about three weeks. It has been getting jammed a lot and swells up all the time. I can't grip anything. I've been swinging one-handed."


The bats seemed to wake up late in the game.
"We didn't swing the bats well until the 9th inning. We have to come out and get it done early (Saturday)."


Did not playing last weekend cause you guys to be rusty?
"I don't think it made us rusty. It probably made us relaxed. But you have to give credit to their team. Their pitcher is pretty good. And they have some guys who can swing the bat. We had some chances early and didn't capitalize. That was the difference."

Talk about Alan Johnson's game.
"AJ didn't pitch that badly at all. We made those two errors in the second inning. If not for those, it could have been a totally different game. But that is baseball and things like that happen."

Did those two errors cause you guys to change your mentality about the game?
"No, it didn't change our mentality at all. You never know what is going to happen in regional play. You could be down 8-0, then be up 9-8 late in the game. We kept battling. It was good to see us put some games up late in the game."


Do you feel not playing in the SEC Tournament caused the players to be a little rusty?
"No, I don't think so. We swung the bats well. The thing that concerned me was not making the routine play early. That hurt us early in the game. I think they would have pitched it a little differently if they hadn't gotten that lead. You have to give our guys credit. They stayed in there and kept competing. That is what I like about this club."

What did you think about this ballpark? It seems to be different than most because of the outfield alleys.
"Left, left center is deeper than it is in right center. We actually thought that it would be an advantage for us because we spend so much time going that way. Their guy, when they got the lead, starting getting a little more aggressive with his fastball."

You have to be happy with the pitching of Jamie Gant. He really looked good.
"That was the best that he has thrown in awhile. It was nice to see that because, now that we have to win four in a row we are going to need him."

Do you think he and Josh Johnson can pitch Saturday?
"They can both pitch Saturday. We are going to have to use everybody now."

Who will be the starting pitcher for State in the morning game?
"Jeff Lacher."


Not having the opportunity to play in the SEC Tournament, did you do anything different to prepare the team for this regional?
"I thought we did all that we could to prepare the team the best we could despite all the rain that we had Tuesday and Wednesday. We had a lot of batting practice. We did a lot of throwing. We had a good practice Thursday. They jumped on us pretty guick due to a few mistakes and that hurt us. And their pitcher kept throwing the ball in the zone. I an proud of our guys for battling back. Hopefully, that will show up Saturday."

It had to give the coaches a great feeling to see Jamie Gant throw so well. With his outing, you have to feel he can help you the next two days.
"That was our throught process after we saw how well he threw. That's why we put Josh (Johnson) in late. The bottom line now is we have to get to Sunday, so anything goes. We have to do everything we can Saturday morning to get to Saturday night. Then do everything we can Saturday night to get to Sunday."

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at

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