Christian Moore entered game two of the Mississippi State series on an 0-16 slump in SEC play dating back to the series opener at Arkansas.
Tennessee’s offense turned the corner against Vanderbilt and kept the momentum rolling into the series opener against Mississippi State, but Moore continued to struggle.
After an 0-3 night at the plate Thursday against the Bulldogs, Moore bounced back in a big way Friday and Saturday. In the two games, Moore went 4-9 at the plate with three home runs and six RBIs.
So, what changed?
A talk and additional time in the cages with hitting coach Josh Elander was undoubtedly a big contributor to the turnaround.
“He and Coach [Josh] Elander had some wise words last night,” head coach Tony Vitello said Friday. “Just a chance to vent and just talk. Sometimes when you just say something out loud or you remove yourself from the emotion of the game and just sit there and think about it or say it out loud, then everything kind of makes more sense, and it’s easier to think rationally about things.
“So whatever that conversation started or ended with, I don’t know, but he came to the park expecting to have success, and that’s usually what you get.”
Moore showed a lot of improvement and looked significantly more comfortable at the plate on Friday, and the Tennessee second baseman shared on Saturday that additional time in the hitting cages with Elander helped, too.
“Obviously, I wasn’t swinging it well for a couple weeks,” Moore said. “I was struggling and I was kind of in my head a little bit trying to figure out what was going on. I called him up and said, ‘Hey man, what do you see? What should I do up there?’ On Monday, this past Monday, we sat there and hit for about two or three hours. Just trying to get that feel back that I had early in the season. I guess it worked a little bit this weekend.”
Moore is a player that brings a lot of energy and emotion to the field. And while that is mostly a good thing, sometimes it can be a negative for Moore.
“I was just trying to rush a lot. Just wasn’t calm and cool up there,” Moore said. “I was trying to rush a lot to pitches. Just staying to my approach and doing what I do… I think that was the switch for me, getting back in that mental space of, ‘I know who I am and I know what I can do. Just go out there and do it.’”
Moore’s mentality of playing calm and cool certainly helped him, and it’s also a mentality that has helped Tennessee play better baseball over the past two weekends.
Moore will always be one of Tennessee’s best at getting on-base, but when he’s one of Tennessee’s best at driving in runs and leaving the yard, he can be an incredibly dangerous player in the SEC.
Just like he was on Friday and Saturday, serving as Tennessee’s offensive MVP as the Big Orange went on to sweep the Bulldogs.