Polk, Wilson and Hogue Talk About The Win

Coach Ron Polk, Andy Wilson and Grant Hogue talk about Mississippi State's 11-5 victory over Mississippi Valley State.

Andy Wilson

Talk about your outing today.
"After that first inning (2 runs, 2 hits, 1 error), I settled down and had good command and the guys played good defense behind me."

Considering this was your first start at MSU, were you nervous?
"Not really. I tried to treat it just like I was coming in in relief. That's all that I have known since I have been here, being a reliever. So, I stayed with what I know works."

You've had to overcome some injuries in your career. Did you think the day would come when you would be able to contribute again?
"I was really hoping for it. This summer, I actually thought I was through playing ball and thought I was going to be on medical redshirt because I have been hurt a lot. I was really to the point where I thought the Lord had something else for me because I couldn't stay healthy. But, it feels good to be back out here now."

When did you find out that you were going to start this game?
"Chad was going to start but he had a little hamstring problem. But he'll be back out there. I found out about it at the pregame meal at about 12 o'clock today."

This was your first decision in your MSU career, wasn't it?
"Yes, my first decision. It feels good to win."

Grant Hogue

Valley hung around for awhile, but y'all put them away.
"They did. They are a scrappy ballclub that puts the ball in play. We have been struggling as of late and had a tough weekend against Baylor. It is good to be back to .500 record. You can say what you want, but the season starts on Friday. And we are going to be tested. But, we are looking forward to it."

You've stolen a lot of bases early in the season.
"I try to get in scoring position for the guys behind me. They do a good job of getting me in. I've had some fortunate opportunities to steal. And I hope Coach Polk keeps giving me the green light."

You are the leadoff batter in the lineup.
"Watching Jeffrey Rea last year taught me a lot. He was the typical leadoff guy who worked his way on. I've been fortunate enough to get on even though I haven't hit the ball hard a lot, but I've found a way to get on."

How much did you know about the State - Ole Miss series prior to coming to State?
"I didn't know anything about it until last year when we went to the Mayor's Cup and then going to Oxford and watching that. I'm looking forward to it. It's really something. You win out, you get to talk for a year about it."

Ron Polk

Talk about Wilson's outing.
"He was using too many fastballs early and they were jumping on them. Finally, we figured it out and had him throw changeups and breaking balls. And that kept us in the ballgame."

It took your team a little while to put some separation between them and Valley.
"It was a ballgame where we couldn't expand the lead. They threw a soft lefthander against us, then came back with a kid who was throwing 86 to 87 which I thought was very effective. Thankfully, we got the big five-spot in the 8th inning and coasted a little bit. Then, we had John Lalor, who is now our designated closer this weekend, pitch very well for us in the 9th. "

Wilson has come back from injuries.
"Yeah, poor Andy, who has been here five years, has had injuries - disc problems and everything you can imagine. What a great kid he is. It was his first start and I'm proud of him."

Grant Hogue had three stolen bases today.
"We were able to run a little bit today because their lefthander didn't have a move and their catcher was struggling today. And Grant is fast. But the reason he's been able to steal so many bases is because he has been getting on base. But in the SEC the catchers generally throw better than what we have seen so far. Other than Baylor, we haven't really faced a very competitive schedule. In most years, instead of 7-7, we would be something like 11-3. So, we are four games behind where we should be in a normal year."

Does Grant have a green light to steal bases>
"No, but what we do early in the count, 0-0, he has the steal sign. And it stays on until I take it off. So, yes, technically, it's a green light."

Your stolen bases are up this year. Do you expect that to continue?
"A lot of people may have more stolen bases than us, but we probably run as much as anybody. So, our stolen base numbers aren't as good. The difference is we have the hitters put the ball in play more. Often times, we will have a hit and run on where we drive the ball into the outfield and the guy goes to third. On some other teams, it may just be a straight steal. But with Grant and Mark Goforth, we have two guys with really good speed. And the bad thing is Brandon Turner can run well too, but when we get him back (from his hamstring injury) I don't want to chance running him. So, we aren't going to set any stolen base records because I only have two or three guys in the lineup who can run against SEC caliber catchers."

Have you set your pitching rotation for this coming SEC series?
"We will go with Forrest Moore on Friday because we would rather have Jesse Carver behind him. The reason for that is Carver is a big-time veteran, five years here. (Justin) Pigott will go on Saturday and (Ricky) Bowen on Sunday."

You mentioned your team is 7-7 instead of their normal 11-3 at this time of year. How surprised are you that this team is 7-7 right now?
"When I looked at the schedule to start the season, I knew with our youngsters we would struggle a little bit. And that didn't even include Brandon Turner and Aaron Weatherford going down. And if you ask any (Major League Baseball) scout, they would tell you that those are the two best players on our team. Now, (weekend starting pitcher) Chad Crosswhite is out. And (true freshman starting outfielder) Ryan Collins is doubtful due to straining his knee sliding into second. We are going to check him out Thursday because in the SEC you have a 25-man roster that you can't change once you submit the roster on Friday. If we lose him, then we have four guys who we would like to have playing against a fine Ole Miss team that won't be available."

How long do you expect Weatherford to be out?
"The MRI was positive, but I don't trust the MRIs - never have. If you remember, Matt Lea has two and neither one showed a tear. Finally, a third (MRI) did. And another boy we have, Jared Wesson, basically the same thing happened to him. But, for piece of mind, the boy knows he has no tear, at least on what the MRI shows. I trust the doctors, but MRIs can only do so much. Some of them don't get deep into the tissue, I guess. I'm not a doctor, so I really don't know why they don't see the tear.

"But to answer your question, we won't pitch him this weekend. We will rest him. And he's taken a pretty good does of inflammation medicine, as Crosswhite has. But hopefully, we get him back next weekend."

Do you know when Crosswhite (hamstring inflammation) and Tyler Whitney (tender elbow) will be avaliable to pitch?
"I haven't talked to our trainers today, but I think Tyler is ok. I'm not as worried about Tyler as I am Weatherford. But Crosswhite will probably be available next week. We just need to march him out there and get some confidence back into him."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the 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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