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Postgame Quotes: #3 Miss. State vs. #4 Jacksonville State

2004 NCAA ATLANTA REGIONAL
Game Three: Mississippi State 7, Jacksonville State 6
Post Game Quotes

Jacksonville State Head Coach Jim Case
“I thought our team played very well, I thought we played with a lot of heart. After losing the game last night in a tough loss, without a lot of runs, then having a short rest and coming out here today, I thought our guys showed a lot of heart. I knew that they would, because they have all year. When they (Mississippi State) got going in the seventh inning, we couldn’t stop them. I thought C.R. (Palmer) was outstanding; he pitched his heart out. I thought we played really hard.”

With the outcome being a one-run game, do you lament the things that happened in the early innings?
“I think you can always look back at missed opportunities. We did have some opportunities to score some runs early and that’s a credit to Jeff Lacher. He didn’t allow that to happen — he got very tough when we had runners on base and he pitched his heart out as well. I thought he was outstanding today and gave a tremendous effort. They really needed that to be able to extend into the tournament.

On the impact Robby Goodson has had on the program:
“That would take a long time to tell you what Robby has meant to our team, for a lot of reasons. I’d start with leadership. Robby is a steady, steady competitor — every day at practice and all during the game. He’s a mature person — great husband, great father, just a tremendous individual. It’s meant so much — it’s almost like having two guys on the same team because he’s meant so much offensively and meant so much on the mound. We wouldn’t be sitting here right now (at an NCAA Regional) if it wasn’t for Robby Goodson. We were a program that had never been to an NCAA Regional and having a guy like Robby come in helped us out a lot.

Jacksonville State Pitcher/DH Robby Goodson
On the emotions of playing against Mississippi State? “lt was a lot of fun. I’m glad I got the chance to play against them and be on the same field with them one more time. The first home run was real exciting. That’s one of my favorite home runs that I’ve ever hit, just to do it in front of my old teammates. The one I hit in the ninth got us a little closer and gave us a chance.”

Mississippi State Head Coach Ron Polk
“We gave up four home runs and still won. Two of them were by Robby Goodson, and if anyone is going to hit home runs, it would have to be Winston Pearson and Robby Goodson, the two kids who have a lot of Bulldog blood in them. But Jeff (Lacher) competed well, and we made some plays behind him. Joseph Hunter remained hunt and that’s a key. You don’t need nine guys hot, you just need one or two guys who hot right now and Joseph is that. If he continues on a roll, I might have to move him up to the four spot tonight. Then again, I might not.

“When the ball hit his (Lacher’s) calf, I didn’t want to go to the bullpen. We got that extra run in the ninth, which we needed. We were thinking of going with Ramsey to start the ninth. Then we got that extra run and I said, Let’s see if we can get another inning out of Jeff. If you win tonight, you’ve got a doubleheader tomorrow and you just don’t want to burn your bullpen. At the same time, you need to win the game to get to the next one. Then when Goodson hit the two-run home run, it was a simple decision. So we go with Dunn against Stein, and then if Stein gets on, we go Ramsey against the right-handed Haskins and try to win a ballgame.

[Goodson transferring] “You always try to help the kids if they want to leave. In his case, he wanted to play a position, and he felt that at Jacksonville State, he could play at first or right field and possibly pitch more. Yes, he could have helped us this year, no question, but he wanted to play everyday and pitch. Kids want to play everyday, and it worked out good for both those guys. I think they’re very positive about their experiences at Mississippi State and we’re very positive about the fact that they’re both going to graduate.

Mississippi State pitcher Jeff Lacher
“Whenever there are runners in scoring position with less than two outs, I just try to make a pitch to get a ground ball or a pop up. When they had a runner on third with one out early in the game, the guy fouled out to [the catcher]. Early on, my curve ball wasn’t that good, so I was working the two-seam fastball in and trying to get it in on their hands. That’s pretty much what I was going to for an out pitch and got a lot of ground balls early in the game.

“My leg is fine. It’s going to be a nice bruise tomorrow, but luckily I won’t have to pitch.

“Going in, I was going to try to go as long as could. I was thinking that I’ve got to at least get to the seventh or eighth inning. If I could have finished, it would have been great, but it was big getting to the ninth inning.

[Home runs by Goodson] “The first at-bat was a 2-2 fastball, and the ball didn’t move as much as I would have liked, either to the outside part of the plate or off the plate and he hammered it. The other one, I think it was 1-1 and I threw a breaking ball. After he hit it, I asked Craig (catcher) where was that pitch, and he said, I don’t know how he hit that out. You just tip your cap. It was a breaking ball down.

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