Coach Polk and Players Talked About Their 9-2 Win

Mississippi State head baseball coach Ron Polk and players Josh Johnson and Thomas Berkery talked about their team's 9-2 win over Kansas. With the win, Mississippi State runs their record to 6-0. Kansas is 13-8.

Winning Pitcher Josh Johnson (6 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 5 SO, 2 BB)

You had a good game today.
"I did a lot better. I was a little nervous for this game because last week I didn't do as well as I had hoped I would. I pitched 3 innings and gave up three earned runs. I wasn't pressing too much. I got through the first couple of innings alright."

What did you have going for you?
"I was throwing a lot of location today. I didn't have the velocity that I had the other day. Some days you have your velocity, some days you don't. Today, I didn't have as much velocity and was throwing 87 to 89 and 90 to 91 every now and then. But I was hitting a lot of spots. That was the key to me being successful today."

How much was your first outing in your mind?
"It was in the back of my mind, but I didn't let it bother me to the point where it is going to affect my next performance. I've done this many a times. One day you may have your best stuff and the next time out they may hit everything you throw. The last time I went out I felt great, had great velocity, but I wasn't hitting spots like I needed to. And at this level, they are going to hit that pitch."

The pitching hasn't been overpowering this year, but it has been efficient. Is that what you expect from this staff this year?
"Yes sir, location is what (MSU pitching) Coach McNickle has been stressing to us. We aren't going to be an overpowering pitching staff. We are just going to have to hit our spots to win."

The last game and the last two scrimmages you had one bad inning each outing. What was the reason for that?
"Sometimes I may go out there with the attitude that I'm going to be alright this game. Then, I go out there and mess around and walk a batter and they get a hit. A lot of times it's like that for me in the first inning. If I get out of the first few innings and get in a groove I'm ok."

Second baseman Thomas Berkery (2-for-2, 1 HR, 5 RBI)

This team seems to be hitting the ball well so far.
"We have some bats on our team. With the way we swing the bat 1 through 9, if four guys aren't hot, the other five will pick up the slack."

Talk about your home run.
"I hadn't been swinging the bat well, so I was surprised. I just got a good swing on it and it went."

I really thought this team would show more power?
"It will come. We have to get our swings right first. We have some guys with pop. And the wind is finally blowing out."

Coach Polk was impressed with Kansas' starting pitcher, Quick, coming into the game, but you guys hit him pretty good.
"He tried to do it with two pitches. We laid off his slider, which he was having trouble locating, and when you can sit on one pitch, a fastball, you are going to get your hits."

Will this MSU lineup be the type where if a pitcher is not on, you are going to make him pay?
"I think so. With the experience we have, if you make a mistake, one of the hitters will hit you hard."

Coach Ron Polk

Talk about Josh Johnson's performance.
"I thought he had good command, better than he had the last time out. It's just a matter of getting on the mound and getting his feet wet. Last year, he was our mid-week guy. I think him knowing that we now expect him to be an SEC starter caused him to be a little nervous. I think he will get better as he walks out to the mound and competes. He has good enough stuff. It's just a matter of getting ahead in the count and have a little better command."

Was it important for him to come out and have a good outing today?
"If he had a bad outing it would probably leave some doubts in his mind and all of our minds."

Your team hit their first home run.
"Everybody is moving their fences in and we aren't. We are by far the biggest ballpark in the league. I don't want our guys to think they have to overswing to compete with the other teams. If we played at Kentucky or other places we would probably have 6 or 7 home runs by now."

You had 10 hits against a good pitcher today.
"Yeah, Kodiak Quick transferred from Stanford with good recommendations. He's had some great outings. His numbers were good coming into the game. But we did a good job in the first inning again. And the greatest weapon you have, offensively, is a three-run home run with two outs. That kind of put the nail in the coffin for the ballgame."

What do you think of your offense after the first 6 games?
"We still have to wait on that. I think the big test for us will be next weekend against a great Arizona team. It will be a tough road trip, but we need to be tested."

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

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