Southern Head Coach Kerrick Jackson Opening Statement:
“We are just really excited to be here. This is a testament to what our guys have been able to do this year. I think you would be hard pressed to find a better turnaround, one-year turnaround in D1 baseball this year. For our guys to get to this point in the year and get that recognition for what they have been able to do and the benefit for me to them is to go through this experience. There is a lot out there about us talking about not wanting to stay in Baton Rouge. We would have been happy to be wherever we could be. You come to this environment, one of the top environments in college baseball and one of the greatest atmospheres in college baseball, I think it is going to be a great experience for our kids. We are excited to be here and get after it.”
Southern Pitcher Justin Freeman
Q: How does the experience of playing and beating LSU prepare you for playing in a stadium with 10,000 plus people against another SEC team?
JF: “Honestly, we just have to continue to take it one pitch, one out and one inning at a time. Whenever we play our clean baseball and slow the game down and focus on one pitch at a time, we can be successful. It is still baseball at the end of the day, the game we have been playing our whole life. As long as we slow it down and do not over think the game, it will just be another game.”
Q: What has the last week been like coming off of the high of winning the SWAC conference and refocusing and preparing for this?
JF: “Coach Jackson’s message was to never lose focus. We were riding on a high, but we knew that our season was continuing and that we have more games to play in the future. We did not have the time to somewhat relax or enjoy the moment. We are still in the battle zone, and we are still preparing of war. We had to get ready for this game.”
Southern Outfielder Hampton Hudson
Q: How would you explain this team’s ability to rally and end games in such exciting ways and come back from deficits?
HH: “You look at this team, and there is no quit in anybody in that dugout. Whether it is the guy that starts the game or the guy that is coming off of the bench or someone who has played all year, everybody in that dugout has complete confidence in everybody else on the team. When it comes down to the end of the game and we may be down, or maybe a close game of one or two runs, you will not see any quit in us. We know that as long as we play the game and as long as there are outs on the board, there is a chance to win.”
Q: How do you guys prepare for a guy like JT Ginn and this SEC team?
HH: “Our preparation all year has been very similar. We have been able to look at a little bit of film here and there on different guys. At the core of that is just our game plan and what we want to do as a team. Whether that is JT [Ginn] or any other pitcher that we face, our game plan will be very similar about us and what we are planning to do.”