Coach Polk and Players Talked About Their 5-0 Win

Mississippi State head baseball coach Ron Polk and players Todd Doolittle and Bunky Kateon talked about their team's 5-0 win over Kansas.

Winning Pitcher Todd Doolittle (6 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 7 SO, 2 BB)

You seem to have come back well from your injury.
"Yeah, it didn't bother me that much, especially at the start of the game, but once it started to get cooler the wrist started to tighten up. We were able to jump on top early and that gave me a little comfort zone."

When did you know you were throwing a no-hitter?
"Actually I didn't know until the 4th or 5th inning when one of the guys from the other dugout hollered out 'break it up.' "

Why did Coach Polk decide to go ahead and remove you with your no-hitter still intact?
"I was on a pitch count, probably an 80-pitch count."

So you knew you were coming out after the 6th.
"I knew I was coming out. Most of the pitchers last weekend came out early."

Even though you knew that, did it still make coming out disappointing?
"No, my main concern was to go out and keep the other team off the scoreboard. That way we can get the W at the end."

What was working for you?
"My arm felt great. I had everything going and was striking people out with my curveball and slider. My changeup was doing good and I was locating my fastball early in the count."

Shortstop Bunky Kateon (3-for-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 RS, 1 RBI)

What was the mood of the team coming into the game today after such an exciting end to yesterday's game?
"Just to come out and swing the bats and put up some runs. And the pitchers throw strikes. With the way Doolittle was pitching, we knew all we had to do was score a few runs."

Did you know that Doolittle had a no-hitter going?
"I didn't have a clue until I looked up after that play in the hole. After I saw that, I was mad." (Kansas' first hit was an infield hit in the 7th inning on a ball hit deep in the hole at shortstop that Bunky was able to grab but couldn't quite throw the runner out.-Gene)

Talk about the first inning when your teams scored 4 runs.
"That was huge because we didn't put up another run until late. (Mike Zagurski) was leaving his fastball over the plate and everybody was hacking and we got some runs across early."

You had three hits today. What were the pitches you hit?
"Fastballs. All of them were on the inside of the plate. I just swung and was fortunate enough to get three hits."


Coach Ron Polk

What did you think about Kansas' pitcher, Mike Zagurski?
"He was pretty good. He is probably one of the better pitchers in the Big 12. He is going to be a Friday night guy for them. I don't know what happened our first inning. We had some great swings against him. I guess a lot of times these guys don't play in front of big crowds. They might have been a little nervous. But, after the first inning, he really did a good job of pitching."

What makes him so good?
"He is a control guy. He has a changeup and a cut fastball. He can get some swings and misses."

What is wrong with Jeffrey Rea? He didn't play today.
"He has a hamstring pull. It's not a bad one, but it's right in the middle. He did it running the bases Friday trying to beat out an infield hit. I could use him tomorrow, but I don't want to chance it. We have Monday off and I have even thought of resting him Tuesday and maybe Wednesday. I would like to have him full speed for the Arizona series."

Talk about Doolittle's game today.
"Kansas got a lot of hits in the early ballgame today and swung the bats pretty good yesterday. It was good to get a no-hitter going against them. You hate to take him out with a no-hitter going, but he was on pitch counts."

Pitcher Mike Valentine came in and gave you another good outing.
"He is very durable. So far, he has been very impressive. He was also impressive in the fall and had a great summer. We have good pitching depth. It's just a matter of keeping everybody sharpe. We have (Brett) Cleveland coming back and (Jamie) Gant should be ready next week. Jamie has a severe case of tendinitis. And we haven't even pitched (Brad) Corley, yet."

Have you made a redshirt decision on true freshman pitcher John Lalor?
"He won't redshirt. We will pitch him against Jackson State on Wednesday. We'll probably use him like we did with Josh Johnson last year, use him during midweek games. That way, if somebody is struggling on weekends and John is dominating on Wednesday's, then we can move him into the weekend rotation."

What have you seen from him that made you decide to go ahead and use him this year?
"Number one, he pitched very well in the scrimmage game that we had the other day. And he had mono in the fall and we didn't get to see much from him. And then he had back problems. He's a mystery kid in how good he is going to be, but he threw very good the other day. Another factor is he will be draft eligible next year. He will be 21 by June 30th of next year. The draft rule is you can be drafted after your third year in school or when you reach 21 by June 30th. Although we don't know if he will be a high draft pick, that is still a factor."

Who will pitch for you and who for Kansas Sunday?
"Josh Johnson (0-0, 9.00) will go for us and Kodiak Quick (4-0, 1.11) with go for them. He is a transfer from Stanford that I really like a lot."

You mentioned that Lalor will pitch Wednesday. Who will pitch Tuesday?
"We will start Brooks Dunn against Louisiana Tech on Tuesday but not allow him to go more than 3 or 4 innings."


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


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