Mississippi State freshman righthanded pitcher Evan Mitchell had an up and down early and middle…
A Q&A With MSU Baseball Assistant Coaches
Lane Burroughs (catchers and hitting) Your guys didn't seem to be intimidated at all during the entire regionals. "I heard somebody the other day - I think it was Augie Garrido - say when guys get into postseason play you can see their confidence start soaring as they start winning. I hate to even say this but I think the two losses in the SEC Tournament might have been a blessing because it gave the guys some days off. And they took advantage of it. When they came back for that Sunday night practice they were so energized and recharged, almost like it was our first day of practice. And I think that carried over into this weekend. They played with confidence and they know they are a good team. And I think that showed this weekend." In two of these three games it was almost State was a lot better than the teams they played? "I think we got great starting pitching, something that we have struggled with almost the entire year. I think we were searching for starting pitching the whole year and this weekend we got three fantastic starts. And right now we are playing with confidence. And I think a lot of that is due to our seniors." How much will it help your team having played Florida four times this year? "I think it helps both teams. It doesn't give us an advantage or them an advantage. One thing I know we don't have to worry about is getting a scouting report (laugh) because we already know them. "I do hate it for our league because I wish both teams had a chance to go to Omaha by going to different Super Regionals but I guess that's how it goes. But we are looking forward to going. And we know we are two wins away from the promise land." Did the attacking style of play by Mississippi State have a big affect on the teams you played? "I think so. We are really aggressive on the bases. It has been a long, grinding year. And some of these teams grinded through their tournaments. Austin Peay won theirs. And Georgia Tech went deep into theirs. And Southern Miss played a 15-inning in theirs. And we came in fresh and recharged. Plus, on selection day I talked to a good friend of mine who is an SEC coach and he said, 'one thing, Lane, that the SEC gives you is no matter where they send you it's not going to be anything that you haven't seen before.' You are going to be ready for anything they throw your way because you will have seen it thirty times this year." How much do you feel this will help the players coming back next year? "Evan Mitchell came in and won a huge game for us in this regional. C.T. Bradford played well and should be the tournament most valuable player. Adam Frazier was two-for-two in this game." Butch Thompson (pitchers) What did you tell your guys this week that caused them to pitch so well? "It was all them. I think people should also give credit to Wes Thigpen because he caught all three games. He and I traded back and forth with the flow of the game when we needed more tempo." Did Wes call the pitches? "We all did. The pitchers shook some, the coach called some and Wes called a ton of pitches. As I sit here and reflect back on all three games, what Wes Thigpen did was phenomenal. And I don't want that to go unnoticed. And all the coaches helped - Greg Drye, our strength coach Bryan Neal, our former strength coach Dan Deselle, Coach Cohen made some mound visits, Nick Mingione came out in January to help prepared this guys. Really everybody shares the credit. But the biggest thing is these guys never quit. I think this is another example that shows you that you should never give up." Did you get even more than you expected from Nick Routt? "Tonight, for sure." During the 9th inning did you have any thoughts of bringing any other pitcher in to take Nick's place? "Yeah, 100%, Caleb Reed." Why did you decide not to replace him? "They only had three hits going into the 9th. They had some loud outs but I thought, for the most part, that he was going to get three outs before they could score five runs. I think we were probably a hit away, even when he went 2-0 and 3-0 to the hitter before we were kind of all over having Caleb come into the game. But sometimes you don't always know the answer, you just trust your gut." 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 email@example.com.
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