JSU Post Game Interview
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Jackson State baseball team fell 11-7 to the No. 1 seeded LSU Tigers in the opening game of the Baton Rouge NCAA Baseball Regional at Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers made a late rally, scoring five runs over the last two innings, but ran out of time to fall to a 34-21 record. LSU improves to 53-9.
Fred Hampton and Aneko Knowles combined to record seven hits, three RBI and three runs for the JSU Tigers. Hampton went 3-4 at the plate with two runs and two RBI. He hit a two-run homer over the left field wall in the ninth inning. Knowles went 4-5 with a run and RBI. Charles Tillery also had a good day, going 2-4 with two RBI.
As a team JSU finished with 12 hits, seven runs and seven RBI. The Tigers also had seven walks.
Mark Katz led LSU’s offense as he went 2-2 at the plate with four RBI and three runs. LSU pitcher
JSU starter Alex Juday (7-5) went 3.2 innings and allowed seven runs on six hits. Brandon Gregory pitched the rest of the way in relief as he gave up four runs on six hits. Gregory recorded the only strikeout of the game for JSU.
Mid-way through the first inning a storm came by and caused a 25-minute delay.
JSU will play No. 2-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday. First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 (online only).
-Brandon Gregory records the first strikeout of the game for JSU in the 5th inning.
-Fred Hampton hit a two-run homer in the 9th inning.
-JSU’s 2-0 lead at the top of the 1st inning is the only time JSU has led during a NCAA Baseball Regional.
Jackson State Post Game Quotes
Head Coach Omar Johnson
“They came out and played like the No. 1 team in the country. They did not make any mistakes; we anticipated that. We knew coming into the game that we were going to have to play a clean game to have an opportunity to win.”
On pitching plans for tomorrow…
“Well (Desmond) Russell will probably play tomorrow. We still have a couple of arms. We are not the most over powering bunch but these guys are going to throw strikes, you have seen how we pitch. If you don’t stay back and get on some pitches we are going to get you out. So again, Russell will throw tomorrow and we still have an outstanding chance.”
On Jackson State starting out aggressively…
“You always talk about trying to get a lead in the beginning. These guys play on momentum. So, getting a lead, getting up by one run early, gives these guys so much confidence. But, you have to consistently play throughout the game in order to win the nine-inning game.”
On a late game rally…
“We left too many out there. We left too many runs on base, but they kept chipping away. When they start getting a little erratic and we start taking pitches and getting base runners that’s when you know. If you look at the eighth or ninth inning when we had the tying run on deck that is a testament to these guys that they are not going to give up and they will keep battling.”
On LSU’s Kurt McCune …
“He hit some spots. One thing about pitching is that it is not always about the velocity all the time. It is about him being able to locate well. (Kurt) McCune made some key pitches when he had to. When McCune struck our player with the bases loaded that was a big time play in the game. If he does not strike that player out right there with the bases loaded we possibly go up two. Because really, you take away the four errors, it is a tie game. You take away the homerun from (Mason) Katz we win. That is wishful thinking, but at the same time that is how a baseball game is played out. You cannot make mistakes and expect to beat the No. 1 team in the country.”
DH Aneko Knowles
On his big day offensively…
“I’ve seen these type of pitchers all day and I knew I could have a day like today. I look it as just another pitcher on the mound and you just have to hit the ball.”
On possibly coming back…
“All year we’ve known that we just have to battle back and we could come back. We just had to get some hits back-to-back and we would be right back in it.”
P Alexander Juday
On his pitching…
“I didn’t locate very well today. I just wanted to come out and compete for our guys. I felt like I did that for the first two innings but after that I missed with some pitches and they squared off.”
OF Charles Tillery
On the big offensive day…
“I knew coming in I just had to get myself prepared to hit. I had to try and turn something around.”
On starting fast…
“Coming in we knew that we could do what we did. We’ve seen great pitching all year and we knew we could hit off of them.”
LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri
“I don’t know what adjective to use. Maybe one of the more painful wins that we’ve had in our time. We’re glad to win the game of course, but the biggest concern is Alex Bregman and Raph Rhymes with the collision. We’ll just pray and hope that they’re going to be okay and be able to get back to playing. It was a rough game. Nothing went by script today. Obviously Ryan [Eades] had a tough time with his command, and Kurt [McCune] came in and saved the day for the Tigers. He was phenomenal – just absolutely outstanding. This was the longest he’d thrown in a long, long time. The other guy that I think really stepped up for us off the bench was Jared Foster. Chris Sciambra came up and got a big hit for us, and Jared Foster had a big day hitting the homerun and a sacrifice fly. There were a lot of things that didn’t go so great today, but there were a lot of things that were also really outstanding. I’m really happy that some guys really rose to the occasion for our team. So we’re going to hopefully get through this thing – health-wise – and we’ll just dwell on the fact that we won the ballgame and we’re okay and move on to the big game tomorrow.”
On the collision between Alex Bregman and Raph Rhymes…
“I’m not really concerned about concussions at all. Raph Rhymes could have continued to play in the game but I just chose to take him out of the game. He had a laceration on his lip and needed some stitches. He took a good blow to the nose so he might have a couple of black eyes – I don’t think his nose is broken or anything. There was no concussion or anything like that. I just felt that the heat and the shot to the head and everything, the best thing was just to get him out of the game. Alex [Bregman’s] situation is a little bit more concerning to us, quite frankly. He’s at the hospital right now and getting some tests done on the bones in his face and I haven’t heard any report yet, so that’s as much as I know.”
On LSU’s relief pitching performance…
“[Nate] Fury did a good job, I thought, and so did Joey Bourgeois. Kevin Berry didn’t and Hunter Newman didn’t. The only reason I took Kurt [McCune] out of the game was because of the balance of playing one at a time, and also knowing you’ve got a long tournament. There’s always a challenge. It’s more challenging because Cody Glenn is not with us. I thought that the game was not in hand but close to being in hand and we could get through two innings, the plan was to go with Kevin Berry for the eighth and [Hunter] Newman for the ninth. Kevin [Berry] got the first out and looked like he was throwing the ball pretty well and all of a sudden just kind of lost it. [Nate] Fury came in and I thought he did a really good job – got us out of the inning. I was going to start the ninth with [Nate] Fury, but I thought let’s try to save the pitches with him, especially after we tacked on the one additional run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Unfortunately, Hunter Newman walked the first batter and gave up a homerun and walked another batter. But Joey [Bourgeois] I thought did a great job.”