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After early struggles, Moran impresses in victory

Marlins' No. 4 prospect goes 2-for-5 with two runs scored to boost Desert Dogs

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The Arizona Fall League has been a learning experience for Colin Moran. Less than five months after the Marlins made him the sixth overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, Moran is playing in the league known as baseball's "finishing school."

It hasn't been easy for Moran. He entered Thursday hitting .176 in 14 games. But, against Peoria, he went 2-for-5 and scored two runs, helping Glendale to a 10-2 victory at Surprise Stadium.

Moran, who is ranked No. 71 on's Top 100 prospects list, said he felt good at the plate Thursday.

"I was just trying to get things going," he said. "Luckily, I was able to get a couple hits today."

Moran isn't one of the youngest players in the AFL, but he didn't get much professional experience before going to Arizona. After signing with the Marlins in July, he played 42 games at Class A Greensboro, where he hit .299.

He said his time in the AFL has been instructive, even if he hasn't had as much success as he would like.

"I feel like I'm learning a lot," Moran said. "I'm trying to come out here and improve my game and move into next year with more knowledge and more experience."

Against Peoria, Moran helped start a big second inning for Glendale. He led off the inning by reaching first on an error. The next two Desert Dogs got on as well, loading the bases for Chris O'Brien. He hit a grand slam, giving Glendale a 4-0 lead.

Moran would play a more active role in Glendale's five-run fifth, which broke the game open. His first hit of the day drove in a run and he would came around to score on a two-run double by Brandon Jacobs.

Moran and Jacobs were among the five Desert Dogs with at least two hits Thursday. Jacobs, the White Sox No. 7 prospect, went 2-for-4 with three runs scored and a walk.

After the Desert Dogs' offense got the big lead, their pitchers made sure it wouldn't go to waste. Right-hander Jamie Walczak and five relievers combined to hold the Javelinas to two runs on five hits.

Cory Spangenberg hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning, spoiling Glendale's bid for its fifth shutout in 20 games. Spangenberg, the Padres' No. 14 prospect, finished the game 3-for-3 with a walk to go with his first home run of the fall. Delino DeShields, the Astros' No. 7 prospect, went 1-for-3 with a run, a walk and a stolen base, his seventh in 15 games.

Glendale's pitching staff leads the league with a 3.47 ERA. Moran said their performance in what is traditionally a hitter's league has been spectacular.

"They're all obviously really good and everyone knows how to pitch," Moran said. "We've got a great pitching staff and a great team, really."

Moran said he has learned a lot from being around so many talented players in Glendale. Now, with just two weeks remaining in the fall season, he wants to keep soaking up as much knowledge as much as he can in all facets of the game.

"I couldn't ask for better coaches and teammates," Moran said. "I feel like I've learned a lot and keep improving every day."

Teddy Cahill is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill.
Read More: Glendale Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas, Brandon Jacobs, Colin Moran, Chris O'Brien