No. 21 Mississippi State (27-9, 5-7 SEC) is in College Station today to begin a three-game series against Texas A&M (21-13, 6-6), and it marks a return home for second baseman Brett Pirtle, who’s a native of Tyler. He’s been looking forward to this trip, and it’s a big weekend in general for the Bulldogs as they try to climb up the SEC West standings.
I caught up with Pirtle yesterday just before the team departed. The juco transfer is having a solid season, turning in some stellar defense (.979 fielding percentage), and he’s starting to find his way at the plate. Pirtle is hitting .266 on the season, but over his last four games he’s 6 of 15 with three RBIs. I have the full Q&A here for you, or if you prefer, you can just watch the video above.
Y’all have good momentum heading into the weekend. Are things falling into place?
“It’s starting to get together now. We started off real good in the first of the season, then we started having ups and downs, and now we’re starting to put it together again. We’re making all the plays, we’re starting to get the bats going again, and the pitching’s starting to do really well.”
John Cohen said how big it would be to win two of three this weekend. Have the players talked about that?
“We talk about it every series. To win two out of three on the road, just because it’s on the road, and it’s a place you’re not used to being like at home, when you’re used to being here and being in a comfortable state. When we go there, it’s going to be a good series to win two out of three, because they’ve been sold out for a while for the game. Win two out of three, we can do it, just got to stay focused and relaxed.”
How have you adjusted as this season has gone on?
“Just adjustments. I’ve been playing defense well, but the offense wasn’t there. I just started relaxing and sticking with who I was and started staying with it and just riding with it really, and it worked out for right now.”
How excited are you to go back to Texas?
“I get to see a lot of my family. Most of my friends go to A&M. It’ll be a good experience. Ever since I got here, I’ve been waiting so long for this series to come, and now it’s here. I’m so ready to play in front of them and those fans.”
The offense is coming around, getting some clutch hits of late.
“We had about the same amount of hits as Ole Miss did (in a 5-1 MSU win on Tuesday), but ours were clutch. We’re really mature, we have experience, so we’ve been doing really well in the clutch situations lately.”
Did y’all feel it was just a matter of time since you were putting good swings on the ball?
“We’ve got a good lineup, so we’re always going to put swings on it. Sometimes they’re not going to fall, and sometimes they will, so you’ve just got to let it ride out, really.”