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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 wasnât gamesmanship on the part of Cohen, it was simply Norris deciding he was ready to get into the action.
âIt has been a little over four weeks now since Iâve seen live pitching and I just started getting swings this week,â said Norris, who led the team with a .375 batting average prior to his injury. âI didnât really have to talk him into it, but my swing felt alrightâŠ it was just a matter of working me in the lineup.â
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.
âHe is a very mature guy who can slow the game down,â said Cohen. âHeâs not one of those guys whose (heart speeds up). Heâs not that guy. He was a guy that was a quarterback at a high level in high school. Heâs done a whole lot of things athletically on a big stage.â
Norris went down on March 7, leaving him sidelined for the opening three SEC series, something he never wants to do again.
âIt was hard and something Iâve never had to experience and donât want to again,â Norris said. âIâm glad I got a chance to go to Auburn. LSU, I wish I could have been there.â
Norris wasn't the only person happy about getting into the action.
âHis adrenaline and his maturity got him through the game tonight,â Cohen said. âIt 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
Cohen wasnât the only one, as his teammates are quick to point out the lift he gives his team.
âWe 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 donât think many guys in the country would come back as fast as him.Â You canât help but be happy for the guy.â
Will the sophomore be able to go the rest of the weekend?Â Thatâs a question no one has the answer for just yet.
âWe are going to wake up (this) morning and evaluate his knee and see if he can go,â Cohen said. âIâd really like to pencil him in a third base, but I just canât imagine that his knee will be able to do that.âView more articles in: