Moran continues success vs. Canes in spring opener

Moran continues success vs. Canes in spring opener

JUPITER, Fla. -- In his first Spring Training exhibition on Wednesday afternoon, Colin Moran faced a familiar opponent in the Miami Hurricanes.

Moran, taken sixth overall in last year's First-Year Player Draft, played his college ball at the University of North Carolina. Three times a year the third baseman went up against the Hurricanes, and there was a chance for more matchups in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

Regarded as one of the best third baseman in the country last year, Moran did more damage against UM in his spring debut for the Marlins. The club's fourth-ranked prospect had a hit and a walk, scored a run and drove in another in the Marlins' 5-2 victory at Roger Dean Stadium.

Defensively, Moran recorded the final out of the game, leaving the bases loaded for the Hurricanes. Jacob Heyward lifted a soft liner that was headed into short left field, but Moran made an over-the-shoulder, backhanded grab, securing the ball and an exhibition victory.

"When I landed, I was making sure it was in my glove and the game was over," Moran said.

Manager Mike Redmond saw Moran play in the Arizona Fall League. Spring Training gives him a chance to get even a closer look at the 21-year-old.

"I like to get these guys right into the fire and get them at-bats at the big league level as soon as possible and see what they can do," Redmond said. "This is a great opportunity for a lot of our young guys, and Moran, obviously, is our No. 1 pick. He did a nice job. He made a great play at the end, really to save the game."

In camp as a non-roster invitee, Moran is expected to open the season at either Class A Advanced Jupiter or Double-A Jacksonville. But he is regarded as the third baseman of the future.

The Marlins brought in Casey McGehee to start at third base this season. Jeff Baker offers depth at the position.

"I'm just approaching it like anything else," Moran said. "I'm trying to do my job and learn from the other guys and just get better."

Aside from some pregame jitters, Moran had some familiarity with a number of UM players. His hit, a single to left, was off Javi Salas, a right-hander Moran previously faced while at North Carolina.

"This really is just an opportunity for him to go out there, get comfortable, and get relaxed," Redmond said. "I like the fact that he came out today and took advantage of his opportunity."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter