Russ McNickle Talks MSU Pitching Newcomers

Mississippi State pitching coach Russ McNickle talks about the pitching newcomers and where he sees them fitting on next year's pitching staff.

You have a few newcomers coming in such as freshmen-to-be Forrest Moore (LHP, 6-3, 195), Shawn Marquardt (LHP, 5-11, 180), Michael Busby (RHP, 6-2, 190) and Paxton Pace (RHP, 5-11, 185) as well as junior college transfer Lee Swindle (RHP, 6-3, 210).
"Forrest has a chance to pitch right away. He has a chance to pitch on the weekends right away as a starter. I say that because he has a Bulldog mentality, he can pitch to both sides of the plate with his fastball and he has a power, swing and miss breaking ball. And he holds runners really well and has a great pickoff move."

Those are pretty strong words about a true freshman. Are you saying that he has the chance to be a dominant SEC-type pitcher at State during his career?
"Yes, he has a bright future. And it's going to happen pretty quickly with him."

Shawn Marquardt.
"I'm really excited about Shawn. He's got the chance to pitch as a true freshman. He may be a midweek starter or a reliever. He's another Tyler Whitney, Justin Pigott type pitcher. He's a mid-80's to upper-80's guy who has command, throws strikes and has a great feel for a changeup. And I love his mound presence. There are so many positives about him."

What are your thoughts about Lee Swindle?
"He continued to get better his junior college season. And listening to his coaches talk, he will be a midweek guy or a weekend middle reliever for us."

Michael Busby.
"He has the chance to be a legit dual-position guy, but I think his future is on the mound. His arm is a power right-handed arm, but he's never had to throw a changeup. Right now, he's a fastball, slider guy. He just needs to develop a changeup. He is a big, physical guy who has a chance, down the road as he develops into his body and understands how to pitch, to be an SEC-type guy. Tommy (Raffo) and I really liked how big and physical he is."

Paxton Pace is another incoming freshman who is a dual-position type player.
"I think he's the sleeper of the bunch. He really came on as a pitcher this year. (Former MSU outfielder) Jody Hurst called me and told me he can really pitch and that he may help us right away. He reminds me of (former MSU pitcher) Todd Doolittle, although he throws a little harder than Todd. They told me that they had him up to 90-92 with his fastball. And he can spin a breaking ball like Todd, although not as hard. He's a guy we envision as being a setup guy or a short reliever. And he's one of those guys, when you talk to him, he wants to pitch."

This is part-two of a two-part interview.

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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