Every week, the Blue Zone breaks down an outstanding spring athlete, looking at their weekly performance and their season as a whole. Up next is Alex Mooney:
Although the Blue Devils have cooled off from their impressive month of April — with ranked series wins against Boston College, Louisville and Virginia in addition to two wins versus current No. 14 Campbell — they still finished in the top five of the ACC. This week has been nothing short of a roller coaster for Duke. The team opened with losses against Georgia Tech and Gardner-Webb, followed by a victory Thursday against No. 11 Miami and a walk-off loss en route to a series defeat in Coral Gables.
However, sophomore Alex Mooney, the starting shortstop from Rochester Hills, Mich., has been a rock for the 16th-ranked Blue Devils during the entire season. This week, the St. Mary’s product has made some key contributions to keep Duke in close games. He had two doubles in his first two at-bats in last Sunday’s loss against Georgia Tech, and broke Miami’s perfect game on Thursday with a solo home run in the fourth inning. Head coach Chris Pollard commented in the victorious opener of Duke’s final regular season series that it was one of Mooney’s best at-bats this season, as the sophomore drew a walk and added an RBI and to his home run.
But this is not new for Mooney; he has been quite consistent for the Blue Devils behind the dish, leading the team with 73 hits, 64 runs scored, 17 doubles and 217 at bats, while playing every game this season. After Friday’s showdown against Miami, he became the leader for multi-hit games with 21.
Mooney is second on the team with a .336 batting average and 118 total bases. Perhaps the team’s most iconic moment came from his walk-off grand slam against Louisville back in April, which completed a major comeback with Duke down 7-0 in the middle of the fifth inning.
As the 16th-ranked Blue Devils approach the end of a thrilling regular season, they will look to Mooney in the ACC tournament at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park — a ballpark where they have plenty of experience. They will face No. 11 Miami and N.C. State in their pool. Duke certainly had a challenging schedule this season, and majorly improved from last season's finish at the bottom of the division.
However, Mooney has also developed from the last season, with increases to his slugging percentage — 0.392 to 0.569 — and on base percentage — 0.393 to 0.453 — while adding five more home runs than the previous season. Mooney will need to be in his consistent form for the Blue Devils to have success in the ACC tournament at home.
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