One of the most famous clichés that goes hand in hand with the game of baseball is the old saying that “the toughest three outs to get are the last three outs.” That doesn’t seem to be the case for UC Irvine’s junior closer Sam Moore, as he has grabbed ahold of opportunity this season and has literally “saved” every second of it.
As a junior from Rancho Palos Verdes, Moore has come a long way from the beaches in Palos Verdes. Sam Moore just recently broke the Big West Conference record for saves in a season with 23. Moore has been a key part to UC Irvine’s success this season, as he holds an era of 1.90 and has a 38:9 strikeout to walk ratio while holding opponents to a .214 batting average throughout the season.
Although this record is a prestigious accomplishment, Moore doesn’t attribute the record to the hard work he puts in on and off the field. Instead, he attributes it to the success of the team:
“[The record] is something that comes along with the team; a save is a team effort. I can’t go into a game we’re losing and get a save. I can only come in and get a save if the team is winning, and I feel that my hard work is attributed to a good season and a playoff bound team.”
As far as that old cliché goes, Sam welcomes the challenge.
“It’s fun. It’s exciting, that’s for sure, I love it. Especially just going out there and getting the last out and getting the high five from the catcher, I look forward [to it] every game,” Moore said.
Through his years of playing baseball, Moore never lost sight of his love for the game. He explains that baseball has contributed much to his life, and has taught him to accept failure.
“Baseball is just like life, in the sense that you’re going to fall, and you’re going to mess up. With baseball, it’s about accepting that failure and pursuing a better outcome and striving for excellence.”
Moore dealt with his own struggles in his first two years at UC Irvine, but has since used it as motivation to better himself. Since then, he has developed a competitive edge in his persona to achieve what others thought couldn’t be done because he wasn’t the “ideal pitcher” baseball sets players out to be. He says that his competitive edge is driven by his motivation to show that it is possible for him, as well as others like him, to compete at higher levels.
Moore takes this mentality with him all the way back to his hometown of Palos Verdes, where he gives back by spending time with coaches and teaching younger kids at baseball camps. He makes an effort to pass along the life lessons baseball has taught him and show how it has shaped his outlook on life.
“I’m always working with little kids. My freshman year here I actually did camps with little kids which was a lot of fun, it was just a blast, one of the best times I’ve had, I just love working with little kids.”
Moore’s goal in interacting with kids is to try to get the young athletes to have fun with the game and to teach them that when they get knocked down, they can get right back up. It may be a difficult concept for kids to grasp because they always want to win, but baseball, just like life, has its ups and downs. Moore believes that having such a mentality is what allows him to succeed on the diamond and in his academics. He believes it will help others go a long way in the future as well.
Along with Moore’s involvement with his community, he finds himself a finalist for many collegian awards such as, National Pitcher of the Year, Stopper of the Year, and the Gregg Olson Award, which recognizes the breakout players of the year. Though these are respective nominations he doesn’t view them as a self-achievement, but rather the result of a full team effort because of his role on the team. He adds that the National recognition for himself along with starting pitcher Andrew Morales goes to show the great chemistry the team has all together and the fun they have as a whole.
“The chemistry is unbelievable, when something gets picked up on the team, we all do it. The idea of picking each other up is really what stands out on this team.”
Surrounded by teammates who love the game as much as he does, Moore believes their chemistry is present everyday on and off the field.
“There will always be a guy right there if someone is having a bad day. What’s special about this team is that there’s always a guy there, even if we aren’t best friends, we all care about picking each other up and all look after one another.”
Moore touches on the team’s hopes to fulfill their goal of making it to Omaha and compete for a national title by emphasizing the team’s outlook every game.
“We expect to come into the game, fight hard every time, execute everything, and that’s what we do. That’s the kind of tough team we are, and I think that’s really shown.”
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