Hogue, Bowen and Polk Talk About the Game

Grant Hogue, Ricky Bowen and Ron Polk talk about Mississippi State's 4-0 victory over Ole Miss Sunday afternoon.

Grant Hogue

Talk about being involved in a game like Ricky had with a no-hitter going into the top of the 9th.
"We came out today with our backs against the wall because we had been struggling of late. And that's a credit to Ole Miss because their pitching was great all weekend.

"Ricky was something else today. I knew in the second and third inning that he had his stuff, and that if we scratched in a run here or there we would be alright."

How much do you think it helps your pitching staff to have a pitcher come through like Ricky did?
"There has been a lot of pressure on the offense with the pitching staff. We have the pitchers, though, and they know that. Once they get healthy, they are going to be alright."

How did you guys deal with him when he was in the dugout?
"At one point in time I looked down at him and there was nobody even near him. Nobody wanted to get close to him or even touch him. I know I didn't want to. Nobody even said a word about it."

What were you thinking when he had the 2-2 count on the batter with two outs in the top of the ninth and he still had his no-hitter going?
"Everybody in the stadium was going nuts. Man, I was nervous as anything. And I know he had to be. My heart was racing for him."

What was it like to be thinking no-hitter, then all of a sudden they had the tying run at the plate?
"Yeah, it kind of went from no-hitter to just winning the game because they had the bases loaded with their four-hole guy up who has been hot."

How big do you think this game will be as far as helping your team turn the season around, especially knowing that most of the injured pitchers will be back soon?
"That's the key, getting key guys back from injury. But what Ricky just did gives them a lot of confidence. And (Ole Miss) is one of the better hitting ballclubs in the nation. And they showed that all weekend. For Ricky to do that will definitely give the pitching staff a spurt."

Ole Miss has a pretty good pitching staff, but, at times, your team scored some runs off of them?
"We did score some runs, but (Lance) Lynn was tough on Friday night. We hit (Cody) Satterwhite a little. And (Scott) Bittle out of the pen Saturday was something else. But I think our offense was a positive this weekend. But I think Ricky put an exclamation mark on it (Sunday) for the pitching staff. That gives us some hope along with who we have coming back (from injuries)."

Ricky Bowen

Have you ever been involved in a no-hitter?
"I've thrown a few in high school, although I don't remember how man. But none were like this. That's high school and this is big-time, especially against Ole Miss, a great hitting ballclub as we saw in the first two ballgames."

What were you feeling late in the game?
"I really wasn't nervous. If they got a hit, they got a hit. The important thing was to win the ballgame."

How do you not be nervous in a game like that?
"I don't know. I just go out there and throw the ball and let the Lord take care of where it goes. That's pretty much all I have to worry about, just throwing it across the plate."

Your stats weren't really great coming into the game. What was the difference in your game (Sunday) compared to your earlier games?
"The biggest problem I was having early was that I was beating myself. I was trying to do stuff that I don't try to do. I was trying to pitch in a way that I don't try to pitch. Pretty much, the last two outings I tried to relax and go out and do what I have been doing my whole life. And, like I said, let the Lord take care of the rest."

Last year, you were a reliever. This year you are a starter. Has there been an adjustment period for you?
"I was kind of adjusting. When you come in as a reliever you don't have all the weight of the game on you throughout the game. So, it has definitely been a growing up process."

When did you realize that you had a no-hitter going?
"It did start sinking in, but I didn't let it bother me. I was more like let's win the game. The Ole Miss dugout was screaming that I had a perfect game and it was in the third inning."

How did the other guys in the dugout treat you?
"I tried to stay as relaxed as possible in the dugout. I don't sit in the corner and stare off in the distance. I was chatting away and doing a little routine that you do in the dugout."

How much did the 2nd and 3rd run help out as far as taking some pressure off of you?
"It definitely helps you relax. When you are throwing a 1-0 ballgame it's a lot tougher."

When you saw the guy get the hit, what was the first thing that popped into your mind/
"I thought I could relax a little more. But I wasn't too upset. It would have been nice to get it, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. There will be other chances I hope."

What pitches were working for you?
"Everything was working for me. I was about to throw my breaking ball for strikes. And my changeup, which was kind of a weakness for me last, I worked extra on it this week."

What was your strikeout pitch during the game?
"It was everything. I got a couple of strikeouts on the changeup and a few on the slider. The last strikeout was a lift fastball. I threw it up in the zone."

What was your velocity during the game?
"I'm not really sure, but when I'm not throwing my hardest it's usually around 88. I really didn't try to bump it up and throw it harder other than a couple of times."

When Coach McNickle came out of the dugout after you allowed your first hit, was he trying to calm you down?
"I really wasn't nervous. I was actually kind of laughing. You have to enjoy the moment, enjoy everything. Being in that situation was great, so I tried to enjoy it."

Coach Ron Polk

What was the difference in Ricky today compared to his other outings?
"I thought he had command of everything. It wasn't that Ole Miss was swinging bad. They hit a few balls right at us. Unfortunately, we lost the no-hitter on a ball that wasn't well hit. But there were a couple of others that were smoked."

How important was this win to your team?
"It was a good win for the ballclub. Ole Miss is a fine ballclub, one of the best they've had there. But the biggest concern we have is of the five kids that we have pictured on the media guide, four of them (Aaron Weatherford, Justin Pigott, Chad Crosswhite, Brandon Turner) are down right now. That's no fun at all."

Considering how high your team's ERA is right now, how important is it to your pitching staff to have a pitcher have a game like Ricky did?
"Our ERA is high, but if we had (Aaron) Weatherford (Saturday) we might have won that game. We've just got to get healthy. We don't have enough quality, experienced players if we aren't healthy. That is our concern right now."

Do you know what is wrong with Justin Pigott?
"We don't know. We thought about pushing him back, but he wanted to pitch. He felt good in the bullpen, which was the key. It felt good in the first inning, but, all of a sudden, it started hurting in the second. In the third it really started radiating, so he pulled himself out.

"It's all over his shoulder. Hopefully, it's just tendinitis, and he can get it licked. He's going to see Dr. Linton (Monday), but he's probably out for two weeks."

What is the status of Weatherford?
"He has the same thing, tendinitis, and it's still lingering."

What's Tyler Whitney's status? He's been out for most of the season.
"He's had elbow problems. He'll probably throw Tuesday (against UAB). And Lee Swindle has also had elbow problems but he seems to be fine now."

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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