Moran finding his stride in College World Series
OMAHA, Neb. — Colin Moran says he’s just finding holes.
He also thinks, sometimes, it’s luck.
And on college baseball’s largest stage, Moran’s just a “little more relaxed,” and letting the game come to him.
However it’s happening, Moran’s response to the pressure and spotlight of being the highest drafted college player in the College World Series is paying dividends for the MLB’s sixth overall draft pick and his Tar Heel teammates in their quest for the program’s first national title.
Moran was responsible for two of the team’s seven RBIs and one run in North Carolina’s 7-0 shutout of N.C. State Thursday. He also accounted for one RBI in the team’s 4-2 win against Louisiana State on Tuesday and scored two runs.
“It’s the same mindset we had … two days ago and today,” Moran said. “You don’t really have much wiggle room, but at the same time you don’t think about that. You just relax.”
It helps that Moran pays no mind to conversation about how long it’s been since the Atlantic Coast Conference has won a national title and whether the College World Series park is too big, discussion over bat and ball changes, and talk of changing pitching and hitting strategies that aim to seduce or avoid fly balls, respectively, in a rocket-swallowing outfield.
“You don’t really think about any of it when you go up there,” he said. “You just look for a pitch to hit.”
Moran is finding those pitches, it seems, as well as the stride he seemed to have all but lost around the end of the regular season.
He’s 6-for-9 in the last two games, and those six hits are a stark contrast to his 3-for-17 mark through the Super Regional and first College World Series game, and 4-for-18 one in the Chapel Hill Regional.
Coach Mike Fox tweaked his season-standard batting lineup for Tuesday and Thursday’s games, moving switch-hitting cleanup hitter Skye Bolt to the six spot to have two consecutive righties in his order and put Brian Holberton in the four spot behind Moran.
“It feels real good with Brian behind me, he’s a great hitter,” Moran said, but added that he’s confident with anyone behind him.
So although he can’t place exactly where the sudden successful swing is coming from, it’s advantageous to the Tar Heels that he can place the swing right where it needs to be to get Omaha hits.
And because of his at-bat support, he’ll get at least one more chance at an Omaha hit Friday when UNC takes on UCLA at 8 p.m.