By Zac Tallent
The AU baseball team had its first pitch of the year set for Feb. 15 in Louisville, Kentucky. The Ravens faced off against the seventeenth-ranked Warhawks from the University of Wisconsin White-Water. This was the first of three games the Ravens are scheduled to play in Louisville during the month of February.
Last season, the Ravens had a record of 21-16 while going 10-8 in the conference.
The Ravens bring a loaded roster into this season with 35 returners to the program. One of these players is senior Joe Moran.
Moran, a junior in eligibility and the reigning conference player of the year, is back for more at AU and is looking to put up big numbers in the batter’s box and on the mound.
Last season, Moran hit five of the Ravens’ 20 home runs on the year and had a batting average of .362. On the bump, Moran started 11 games for the Ravens, compiling a record of 7-1. In 59 innings of work, Moran had an earned run average of just 3.20, and he averaged 10.07 strikeouts per nine innings.
These stats enabled Moran to receive an invitation to play in the Northwoods summer baseball league, where he was able to compete with all levels of collegiate baseball players. Moran did more than compete –– he was named to the Northwood Leagues All-Star team. With all of last year’s accolades, expectations are high for the 2020 season.
“The target on my back from the other teams in the conference is okay, I just need to keep my head down and stay grounded and let my work show on the field,” Moran said.
Moran’s personal goals for the season relate directly to his team goals. Moran’s biggest goal is “for the team to win the conference tournament.”
“Playing in two tournaments the past two seasons and not being able to take care of business makes it the most urgent goal for this upcoming season,” he said. “Overall, I’d love to be a national champion.”
Moran explained that he has hopes of getting drafted in early June in the Major League Baseball draft, but if that does not work out he has already signed a contract to play in the prestigious Cape Cod League.
Cape Cod is reserved for the elite players in collegiate baseball, with current MLB players Jacoby Ellsbury, Chris Sale and Kris Bryant all being alumni of the league. Moran hopes that it will interest professional teams, so that he can sign and compete in the MLB.
The first home game for the Ravens is on March 10, a doubleheader against Britons of Albion College. The first pitch is scheduled for 2 P.M. to kick off the 2020 season.