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Robert Moore finds identity in Jesus, leads No. 1 Arkansas baseball into NCAA Tournament

Arkansas sophomore second baseman Robert Moore credits a rather basic question from a guest speaker at the team’s chapel service with changing his perspective on baseball and turning his season around.

“The guy said, ‘Robert, if I take the bat and the ball from you, who are you?’ And literally my first thought is, ‘I’m a good hitter’ … and I couldn’t give an answer,” he recalled recently on the Hog Pod podcast.

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It was in that moment Moore realized how much his performance on the diamond was impacting his life. He wasn’t hitting well, and his relationships were suffering as a result. He was happy when the Razorbacks won, but not as happy as he knew he should be.

“It was just so relieving to know my identity wasn’t in baseball because Jesus paid for it on the cross,” Moore said on the podcast.

The slump came to an emphatic end soon after. On March 30, Moore hit for the cycle and drove in six runs in a 21-8 win over Central Arkansas.

After the game, he stressed the importance of having his identity in Christ rather than baseball, and referenced the Book of Malachi while explaining that God never changes.

“I learned that through all this, my identity was tied up too much in baseball,” he said in a postgame press conference. “When that was the case, when things didn’t go well, I was in a bad spot mentally and emotionally. So I had to give that stuff away.”

The son of Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore, Robert intended to go pro out of high school but felt called to Arkansas, and he enrolled a semester early. Building relationships and trying to fit in was a real struggle at the beginning.

“I don’t enjoy going to class,” Robert said on the Hog Pod. “I don’t have very many friends. It’s hard to make friends in the locker room this close to the season. And as everything went on, I just realized how much God was looking out for me, especially with the quarantine period.”

He revealed on the podcast he wanted his walk-up song to be a Christian one but didn’t have the courage to do it as a freshman. In year two, he has used Third Day’s “Trust in Jesus” as well as Matthew West’s “Hello, My Name Is.”

The importance of prayer and relying on God were regularly emphasized in the Moore home while Robert was growing up.

“I’m a sinner saved by grace,” Dayton said last week on Sports Spectrum’s “Get in the Game” podcast. “God’s rescued me from me so many times. I tried to do things in my own power and every time I do, it usually doesn’t work out. And if it does work out, I reflect back on it and saw how my God saved me from me and just said, ‘I’m going to pick you up here even though you don’t deserve it.’ The No. 1 thing we’ve done is [we have] been transparent, prayed with our kids.”

Robert recorded two hits and scored four runs in three SEC Tournament games as Arkansas won the conference tournament for the first time in program history last week. His 13 home runs this season are tied for the most on the team.

The Razorbacks now enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed thanks to a 46-10 record. They face NJIT (New Jersey Institute of Technology) in their first game of the tournament on Friday at 3 p.m. ET.

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