MSU and JSU Players/Coaches Talk About the Game

The head coaches and players from Jacksonville State and Mississippi State talked about MSU's 7-6 victory.


Talk about the play of your players.
"I thought our guys came out and played with a lot of heart."

Talk about Jeff Lacher's effort today.
"You can look back at all the missed opportunities. We had some opportunities to score some runs early but it is a credit to Jeff Lacher that he didn't allow that to happen. He got very tough when we got runners on base. He pitched his heart out as well. He gave them a tremendous effort and allowed them to go deeper into the tournament."

Talk about the year that Robby Goodson has had for you.
"It would take me a long time to tell you what Robby has meant to our team. I'll start with leadership. Robby is a steady competitor every day in practice and also in the games. He is a very mature person in every way. He is a great father, a great husband and a tremendous individual."


Talk about why you chose to leave Mississippi State.
"The main reason I left was because I wasn't pitching as much as I would have liked to. I didn't get to hit much at the start of the season my last two years there. And I just wanted to get a shot to do both. I knew the coach here (Jim Case)."

When you went in and talked to Coach Polk about wanting to transfer, how did that conversation go?
"I just went in and told him that I wasn't too happy about my playing situation and what I felt that I had to do. He accepted it well and I left with no hard feelings."

Have you always hit Jeff Lacher so well?
"I've faced Lacher for a long time. We faced each other in high school it seems like forever."


What do you do between games?
"We are going back to the hotel and shower and change into our home uniforms."

Talk about the home runs you gave up today.
"We gave up 4 home runs and still won. Two of them were to Robby Goodson. If anybody on their team is going to hit home runs and we still win, I would rather they be Winston Pearson and Robby Goodson because they still have a lot of Bulldog in them."

Talk about Jeff Lacher.
"Jeff competed well. He didn't strike out a lot but he pounded the strike zone. For the most part, we made the plays behind him, although we didn't make the plays right at the end."

Jeff Hunter had another good game.
"You don't always need 9 guys hot to win games. You just need to have a player or two hot and Joseph is that guy right now. He is on such a roll that I might have to move him up to the fourth spot."

How important was it to get 8 2/3 innings out of Jeff?
"We were thinking about going to Saunders Ramsey at the start of the 9th until we got that extra run in the top of the 9th. Then, we decided to try and get another inning out of Jeff."

What were your feelings when Robby Goodson came to you and told you he wanted to transfer?
"We always help kids if they want to leave. In his case, he wanted to play a position. He thought at Jacksonville State he would be able to play at first or right field and pitch more. He knew Jon Mungle was coming back, as well as Joseph, Brad, Jeff and Tyler Jones. I told him there was no way he was going to play in the outfield. And we had Brad Jones, Brian LaNinfa and Tyler Scarbrough who could all play first. He was upfront with me and I was upfront with him. It worked out good for both of us. The same thing could be said for Winston (Pearson). Kids want to play everyday, so it worked out good for both of those guys."


You weren't overpowering but you were at your best with men on base.
"When they got men on with less than two outs, I tried to bear down. I tried to get them to hit ground balls."

What was your out pitch today?
"Early on my curveball wasn't very effective, so I was working my two-seam fastball in on their hands. That was pretty much what I use as my out pitch."

You came close to finishing the game.
"I was going to go as long as I could to help us win the ballgame. I felt like I had to at least get to the 7th or 8th inning. If I could have finished, that would have been great, but it was still great getting into the 9th and saving the bullpen."


It seemed like you were the old Jamie Gant during the two innings you pitched in the first game of the regional.
"I relaxed and didn't try to force things. I let my natural ability take over."

Pitching like that couldn't have come at a better time.
"It was kind of like I got my swagger back like I had all last year. That helped my confidence last night."

Have the coaches told you how they want to use you the rest of the regional?
"They really haven't told me. I could start or relieve since I've done both."


What were you thinking after Robby Goodson hit that two-run home run in the bottom of the 9th to pull them to within one?
"I thought this has been happening to us all year. Robby killed us today. He hit the ball pretty good. The last guy that came up had already hit a home run against us, but Brooks' slider starts down the middle and it looked like the guy was pulling off of it thinking he could pull it. But Brooks' slider is pretty good so he couldn't do much with it. That's why he rolled over it."

Why was their starting pitcher so effective against you guys?
"He threw a changeup and we didn't know his changeup was going to be so good. His fastball and slider were just average. Joseph (Hunter) hit the home run and that seem to start it for us."


This was an obvious must win for you guys.
"The main thing about this win is we have good seniors who talked to us before the game. They tried to calm us down. Truthfully, no one thought that we were going to be here anyway, so there's not a whole lot of pressure on us. We just went out and had fun today and played baseball."


How important was it to this team to put up that five-spot to go ahead after not hitting well against their starting pitcher?
"It was huge for us to finally put some runs on the board. We really need to come out tonight and score early."

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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