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Moriarty

Moriarty

Mark Moriarty knows what big-time success looks like in D-II college baseball.

Now, he's hoping to bring some of that magic to Bismarck.

Moriarty was hired as the new baseball head coach at the University of Mary on Wednesday. Moriarty spent the past two seasons as the pitching coach at Augustana University. The Vikings are the defending NCAA Division II national champions and a member of the Northern Sun.

"It shows that it can be done. It's not something that happens overnight, but if you're willing to go out and work, develop your athletes -- and it helps to get a few breaks -- you can have success, and ideally sustained success," Moriarty said. "When I look at the University of Mary I see a lot of positives. I think it's definitely a great spot. We can win there."

Moriarty takes over a Marauders program coming off a tumultuous 2018 season. Previous head coach Joel Barta was replaced in-season with assistant Kevin Walsh. The Marauders struggled to a 5-38 record. Walsh will remain on staff as the team's pitching coach.

"I don't really care how they did last year. Our job is to look ahead, make an assessment of the players we have in the program and go from there," Moriarty said. "Are we going to need a little more talent on the mound? Yes. Do we need to improve offensively? Yeah.

"If we can develop our players individually -- make them bigger, stronger and faster -- and make them better at baseball, they're going to contribute to making our team better."

It's a philosophy that paid off in spades in Sioux Falls, S.D.

"It's not like at Augustana we were getting top-end talent from around the Midwest," Moriarty said. "Obviously, they had good players, but those players have to buy in to what you're doing, your philosophies and how you want to run your program. If you get those things, then playing good baseball and wins are going to eventually come with it."

Moriarty, 33, has 10 years coaching experience. The Mankato, Minn., native played college baseball at the College of St. Scholastica before a brief professional career. In 2014, he was named the Northwoods League Coach of the Year with the Lakeshore Chinooks. In 14 seasons as a player and coach, he's never been on a team with a losing record.

He comes highly recommended.

"Mark has been a very valuable piece to our program and we will certainly miss him," said Augustana head coach Tim Huber. "He very much has earned and deserves this opportunity to be a head coach and run his own program."

Moriarty's expertise is in pitching. He has adapted many of the new-age philosophies and techniques, largely focusing on increasingly velocity as it relates to spin rate and spin axis, also known as Rapsodo.

One of Moriarty's pitchers this season at Augustana -- Jacob Blank -- was drafted in the 22nd round by the Minnesota Twins.

"We want to prevent the other team from scoring runs and the best way to do that is to keep them from putting the ball in play. To achieve that, you have to be able to get strikeouts," Moriarty said. "Strikeouts typically come from throwing harder, from having better stuff and that goes back to what we do in the weight room; what we do in our offseason program; what we do in the fall. It all ties together."

Moriarty is convinced the Marauders can compete in the challenging NSIC. A quick gaze north on the map, and in the standings, is proof.

"Scotty Eul did a great job this season at Minot. They won the conference and played really good baseball," Moriarty said. "We all understand there is a process to things, but when I was in Bismarck for my interview and was able to talk with (athletic director) Dale Lennon and (president) Monsignor (James) Shea, I got really excited. We have a lot to offer both athletically and academically. I think we have a bright future."

Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or david.selvig@bismarcktribune.com

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