The narrative that the Arkansas baseball team was limping into the NCAA Tournament now seems like a distant memory.
In fact, with a 6-1 record thus far in the 2022 postseason — including a 17-2 demolition of No. 2 overall seed Stanford in their first game at the College World Series on Saturday — the Razorbacks may be peaking at just the right time.
As an unranked national seed, they traveled to the Stillwater Regional and beat Oklahoma State in two of three games to advance. Then in the Chapel Hill Super Regional, they defeated North Carolina in consecutive games to reach the College World Series.
One of the players who has been instrumental in leading the Razorbacks’ resurgence is junior infielder and switch-hitting savant Robert Moore.
ROBERT MOORE YES WAY pic.twitter.com/Q1MbBiqtX0
— Arkansas Baseball (@RazorbackBSB) June 18, 2022
In addition to his stellar defense from his position at second base in Saturday’s victory, Moore also had two hits in three at-bats, drew three walks and crossed the plate three times.
“If we can keep him going, it’s big,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said after the game, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. “And you can go on down the lineup a little bit more. Just a lot of production. But if [Moore is] going, it really helps us.”
An All-SEC first-team and SEC All-Defensive team player a year ago, Moore hit 16 homers, drove in 53 runs and was a crucial piece for last season’s consensus No. 1 team in America. Yet an upset to N.C. State in last year’s super regionals left the Razorbacks, a team with championship aspirations, out of the College World Series entirely.
Moore’s play still garnered the attention of major-league scouts, and although he has been in a slump for much of the 2022 season, many still expect his name to be called in next month’s MLB draft. What’s more, he is finally getting to take the trip to Omaha that eluded him a year ago.
The opportunity to play in the College World Series is one of the experiences that drove Moore to enroll a semester early at Arkansas and forego his entrance in the draft out of Shawnee Mission East High School, near Kansas City.
However, Moore’s freshman year in Fayetteville didn’t pan out as he expected. The baseball season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, off the field, Moore struggled to make friends or enjoy his coursework.
“I got here in January, and I was like, ‘God, why am I here? I don’t want to be here,'” Moore said on The Hog Pod podcast in May 2021..
Moore’s father, Dayton Moore (the president of the Kansas City Royals), and mother introduced Robert and his sisters to Christianity at an early age. As a freshman far from home, Moore explained he was driven to rely on his family and on his faith in God as he never had before.
Moore, who lists the Bible verse Romans 1:16 on his Instagram bio, learned to become bolder in his faith and sought to develop into a spiritual leader inside Arkansas’ dugout. He’s vocal about his faith on social media, often giving glory to God no matter the outcome.
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Now during a sometimes-frustrating 2022 campaign, Moore knows he can seek refuge once again in the Lord and place his full trust in Him.
“I learned that through all this, my identity was tied up too much in baseball,” Moore said last season. “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.”
As he said on The Hog Pod, “It was just so relieving to know my identity wasn’t in baseball because Jesus paid for it on the cross.”
So as Moore and the rest of his Razorback teammates prepare to play conference foe Ole Miss on Monday (7 p.m. ET), Moore can take refuge in God’s unconditional love for him. Whether he hits a walk-off home run or strikes out every at-bat, he knows God is worthy of all glory.
– Robert Moore finds identity in Jesus, leads No. 1 Arkansas baseball to 2021 tourney
– ‘Follower of Christ’ Cayden Wallace leads No. 7 Arkansas baseball toward postseason
– Royals GM Dayton Moore: ‘I’ve got to follow something, and for me that’s Jesus’
– Ole Miss baseball on a tear, back in CWS helped by faith-driven players & coach
– SS PODCAST: Former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd on baseball, surrendering to Christ