Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen explained that third baseman Daryl Norris was weeks away from seeing action in a Bulldog uniform.
On Friday night, all Norris did was go 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch, a RBI, and a run scored.
It wasnâ€™t gamesmanship on the part of Cohen, it was simply Norris deciding he was ready to get into the action.
â€śIt has been a little over four weeks now since Iâ€™ve seen live pitching and I just started getting swings this week,â€ť said Norris, who led the team with a .375 batting average prior to his injury. â€śI didnâ€™t really have to talk him into it, but my swing felt alrightâ€¦ it was just a matter of working me in the lineup.â€ť
Following their routine session of batting practice on Friday, Norris informed Cohen he was ready to give his knee a try after missing 17 games with a knee injury.
â€śHe is a very mature guy who can slow the game down,â€ť said Cohen. â€śHeâ€™s not one of those guys whose (heart speeds up). Heâ€™s not that guy. He was a guy that was a quarterback at a high level in high school. Heâ€™s done a whole lot of things athletically on a big stage.â€ť
Norris went down on March 7, leaving him sidelined for the opening three SEC series, something he never wants to do again.
â€śIt was hard and something Iâ€™ve never had to experience and donâ€™t want to again,â€ť Norris said. â€śIâ€™m glad I got a chance to go to Auburn. LSU, I wish I could have been there.â€ť
Norris wasn't the only person happy about getting into the action.
â€śHis adrenaline and his maturity got him through the game tonight,â€ť Cohen said. â€śIt is not just huge what he does at home plate. He might keep an inexperienced player off the field and those two things really make a difference for your ballclub. We need that guy.â€ť
Cohen wasnâ€™t the only one, as his teammates are quick to point out the lift he gives his team.
â€śWe see how hard the guy works," MSU freshman first baseman Wes Rea said. "I almost felt like he was invincible until he got hurt. I just see how hard he works to get back.Â I donâ€™t think many guys in the country would come back as fast as him.Â You canâ€™t help but be happy for the guy.â€ť
Will the sophomore be able to go the rest of the weekend?Â Thatâ€™s a question no one has the answer for just yet.
â€śWe are going to wake up (this) morning and evaluate his knee and see if he can go,â€ť Cohen said. â€śIâ€™d really like to pencil him in a third base, but I just canâ€™t imagine that his knee will be able to do that.â€ť
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