Coach Polk and Players Talked About Their 14-2 Win

Mississippi State head baseball coach Ron Polk and players John Lalor and Brad Corley talked about their team's 14-2 win over Jackson State.

Winning Pitcher true freshman John Lalor (3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 8 SO, 0 BB, 42 pitches of which 30 were strikes)

You seemed excited but not nervous today.
"I don't really show it when I'm pitching, but I was definitely nervous. It was a lot of fun, though."

You threw 42 pitches, 30 for strikes and of your nine outs, eight were strikeouts. What did you have going for you today?
"I was throwing the ball around the plate and trying to locate it in the zone. It just worked out well for me."

You had to battle through illness and an injury to get to this day. I know you must have been excited to just get the opportunity to make this start.
"A week ago I wasn't sure if I would be playing this year, so I was real excited to get the opportunity. I had the mono, then I had the back injury."

Didn't you have similar success in your last scrimmage?
"Yes sir, I had a couple of ground balls and some strikeouts. Mostly, what I tried to do was get ahead and let the defense work for me. I was real excited to get that opportunity also. If I hadn't gotten that opportunity, I might not have gotten to pitch until next year."

Normally, a strikeout pitcher throws with a lot of velocity. I had my Stalker gun clocking you in the first two innings. You were throwing in the 86 to 87 miles per hour range. That's ok, but not blazing fast. Is it the late movement on your fastball and slider that causes your strikeouts?
"It's definitely the movement. Velocity is good to have some times, but most of the time that's not what is going to win the ballgame. Sometimes, when I try to throw harder my ball flattens out a little bit and I'm not as successful. I just try to throw the ball down the middle and let it run for me. It's worked out so far. I'm also been working on my slider and changeup. It all worked for me today."

You mentioned that you had a back injury. You had a really bad accident prior to the season didn't you?
"I went down to Alabama to see my girlfriend. I was about 4 hours and 50 minutes into my drive and probably about 100 yards from where I was going to park, I turned left and got hit. My car flipped over, but it all worked out. I had my seat belt on. That's one of the reasons I got out of it ok."

Right fielder Brad Corley (2-for-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI)

Does a game like this help or hurt the hitters going into a series against Arizona?
"I don't think it hurt. Facing guys like this allows us to concentrate on going the other way."

What do you know about Arizona?
"They are a great team. I think they are something like 12th in the polls. It will be a great test for us. All three of our (pitching) starters had great outings last weekend, so hopefully we will carry that into the weekend. We need to keep playing the same defense that we have been playing. And I think our hitting will also be there for us."

Was what we saw today pretty much what you have seen from Lalor during the scrimmages?
"In the fall he was not healthy at first. Then, he came out this spring and just dominated. He pumped in strikes. And he is so tall he has a lot of leverage on the mound. Plus, his ball moves a foot, which makes it hard to hit. He has a two-seam fastball that probably moves in on righthanders a foot and away from lefthanders."

What kind of pitch did you hit your home run off of?
"A curveball. I saw it in his hand, so I knew he was going to throw it."

Is the team playing about like you expected?
"Oh definitely. Everything looks good right now, especially our pitching staff. I think people were worried about that during the offseason, but they have come out and surprised everybody. If they continue coming out and throwing strikes, I think we will be alright."


Coach Ron Polk

John Lalor pitched well.
"He did pitch well. The plan was to pitch a lot of guys today if we got a lead. I would have liked John go another inning, but we needed to get some guys some work. We threw strikes and got a lot of strikeouts. It was a tough night to play. It was cold, damp, dreary, rainy, which made it very difficult for hitters. For that reason, I don't think we had a great offensive game."

You'll have better weather in Arizona.
"The nights are cold. I told the guys to bring a jacket because it gets 50 to 51 and is dry and cold. It's a little different type cold than we have here."

Talk about Arizona's team.
"Andy Lopez, the head coach at Arizona who used to be at Florida, has a good team. They return just about everybody from last year's College World Series team. They have played Texas real well this past week, beat them pretty good one game and played them close the other two. It's going to be a good test for us, but one we need because we need to play somebody better than we have played."

Do you know who your three starters are going to be against Arizona?
"The same ones as last week, AJ (Alan Johnson), Doolittle and JJ (Josh Johnson)."

Do you have an update on the injured Jeffrey Rea and Joseph Hunter?
"They should be ready, maybe not full speed, but they will play on Friday."


(MSU Media Relations game story)

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State wrapped up its season-opening eight-game home stand Wednesday afternoon with a 14-2 win over Jackson State at Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs, ranked as high as 17th in the latest collegiate rankings, completed a sweep of that home stand and moved their overall record to 8-0. MSU makes its first road trip of the season this weekend, opening a three-game series at No. 9 Arizona Friday (8 p.m. CST).

MSU freshman John Lalor of Germantown, Tenn., sparkled in his collegiate mound debut, striking out eight of the nine batters he faced over three innings to lead MSU's split pitching crew. Lalor and the six MSU pitchers that followed him to the hill, Trent Hill, Justin Pigott, Saunders Ramsey, Jesse Carver, Brett Cleveland and Brad Corley, scattered five hits and combined for a team-high 16 strikeouts.

"We started out with a good home stand," MSU coach Ron Polk said. "I am looking forward to seeing us play in Arizona. That will be a big challenge. We will be facing a really fine ball club."

MSU held a narrow 2-0 advantage before breaking the game open with three runs in the fourth inning. The flood gates then opened in the sixth inning as the Bulldogs pushed across six more scores. Jackson State managed single runs in the eighth and ninth innings.

Sophomore outfielder Ben Grisham, making his first start of the season, singled three times and drove in a pair of runs to pace MSU's 10-hit attack. Junior right fielder Brad Corley highlighted the big sixth inning with a two-run home run, his first home run of the campaign. First baseman Brad Jones singled to extend his team-leading hitting streak to all eight games.

JSU starter Omar Stokley (1-1) lasted two innings and took the loss for JSU. The Tigers collected five hits off Bulldog pitching, two by first baseman Kenji Williams. Jackson State was also plagued by five errors.

MSU 14, Jackson State 2

Jackson State (5-8) 000 000 011 - 2-5-5
MSU (8-0) 110 306 03x - 14-10-1

WP-John Lalor (1-0). LP-Omar Stokley (1-1). HR-Brad Corley (1). T - 2:47. A - 485 (5,564 paid).


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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