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Gavin Collins Talks Third Base And Catching

Mississippi State junior Gavin Collins talks about playing third base after being a catcher his first two seasons at MSU.

How big of an adjustment has it been for you switching to third base after catching the first two years at MSU?

"It hasn't been that big of an adjustment because I played third base a little bit in high school, kind of played corner infield, corner outfield growing up. Going from catcher to third something that has helped me is balls that are hit hard just being able to get in front of them. That is kind of second nature to me because you block balls as a catcher."

Is it easier to stay healthy playing third compared to catching?
"Yeah, I think so. When I played behind the plate I had a routine to help get my body ready to go the next day."

Have you given freshman catcher Elih Marrero any advice?
"Not only Elih but Jack Kruger as well. Those two guys are very advanced behind the plate. They are studs. They don't need much help but I try to give any input whenever I can. But they do a great job as is."

After the season the team had last year, how much motivation does that give the team doing into this season?
"I think that is always motivation. There is a constant reminder about last season. There is a bad taste just from the last game of the season against Tennessee. We were up 3-0 going into the 9th inning and thought we were going to go out with a win, go out on a positive note. But we ended up losing that game. There is that little fire always burning in our hearts."

What does Austin Sexton bring to this team?
"He brings a great tempo. You know you are going to get the same thing out of him every single time. You know he will take you deep into a ballgame with low scores. He will give us quick innings, get us on and off the field quickly. Yeah, I think he is going to play a huge role for us this year."

I've seen most of the scrimmages. I know you are relatively new to third base but you look like a natural out there. Are you just a ball player, a guy who can play wherever he is needed?
"I just want to play. It doesn't matter if it is catcher, third base, outfield. I think that has something to do with my comfort level at third. I have built a convenience level up over there. I have taken a lot of ground balls with all of the infielders throughout the fall and early spring and even over the break."

Does it help your hitting when you play third compared to when you are catching?
"For me personally I don't think it makes that big of a difference. I try to separate my offense and defense as much as possible. When I mix those two that is when I run into trouble and into frustration. But when you play third base how my body feels recovery-wise is better. But I love catching and I love playing third."

It is not a given that you will wind up at third and not catch, is it?
"I just want us to have the best nine guys on the field. If that means me playing third, then I will play third. If it means me catching, then I will catch."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network.

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