Coach Miller Talks About His Team

Mississippi State head softball coach Jay Miller talked about his team's victory over Tulsa, his team's performance in this weekend's 2005 Mississippi State Bulldog Classic (State is 3-1 in the Classic) and his team's overall performance during the early part of the season (State is 9-3).


Q&A

What was your impression of your team's performance in today's doubleheader?
"I thought we came out and played well. In the first game we turned three double plays and Kelli (Miller) pitched a great game. Melissa (Massey) also pitched a great game in the last game. They got a couple of runs but we were already ahead 4 to nothing. Melissa had been struggling, so it was nice to see her have an outing like that. She threw a complete game and was in command all game long. That is the first game she had done that this year. She was down a little bit after the way she threw (Friday). We decided to come back with her today and she really stepped up."

Do you know the reasons why she has been struggling?
"It's a little anxiousness. She got ahead of herself a little bit and she has a tendency to get a little tight when things don't go the right way, as a lot of athletes do. She just needs to step back and relax. And I thought she did a nice job of that tonight."

Freshmen infielder/outfielder Courtney Bures and pitcher Ragan Blake are performing well so far. Talk about how they've done this season.
"It is tough for freshmen to come in and compete at this level. Courtney started off like gangbusters that first weekend (she had 4 home runs) and has been consistent for us, both defensively and at the plate. I like the way she is playing right now. She's still a freshman and gets overanxious sometimes, but she has done a nice job for us. Ragan has started slow and we are working her in a little bit by using her in a relieft mode. She is starting to settle in and learning what she needs to do to compete at this level. We would like to get her a start, possibly (Sunday). That's the plan right now."

Sophomore Blair Geddings is really hitting the ball well this season.
"She's always had a good, quick bat, but last year she struggled with being too quick and not being patient enough at the plate. We really worked on that a lot during the offseason. Coach (Annie) Smith did a great job with her, as she did with all of our hitters. The problem this year is (Blair) is fighting a bad back and we are sort of patching her together."

Your team is currently 9-3. Is that about what you expected at this point of the season?
"I think a 9-3 start is ok, but not as good as we would like it to be. We had a couple of losses against teams that we shouldn't have lost to."

You've had quite a few injuries, haven't you?
"We've had a lot of injuries. We have our three starting outfielders out. Our starting shortstop is out. We have two catchers that are banged up, one's out and one's patch together with duct tape. We are healthy on the mound. That's about the only place that we are healthy."

Are you a little concerned about the defensive play of your team. They've made a few errors this year.
"We are struggling defensively. And I thought that would be one of our strong suits. But we have none of our outfielders, so we have four or five kids playing out of position. And nobody is really stepping up and taking charge defensively. Part of that is a matter of communication and getting comfortable with who is beside you. The problem is we have someone new beside them every game. Because of that, we haven't settled into a lineup. With all the injuries we have, it might be a while before we can do that."

Friday and Saturday Results from the 2005 Mississippi State Bulldog Classic:

  • MSU 5 - Tulsa 0
  • Tennessee Tech 5 - MSU 3
  • MSU 3 - Troy 0
  • MSU 4 - Tulsa 2

    Scheduled Sunday action for the Bulldogs, weather permitting:

  • 2 p.m. MSU vs. Tennessee Tech
  • 4 p.m. MSU vs. Troy


    Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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