Auburn, Ala.--Auburn freshman star Hunter Morris has been named to USA Baseball’s National Team and will be spending part of his summer playing ball in Europe.
The announcement that Morris made the cut for the national squad came on Tuesday.
“It’s a great honor to make the team,” he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. “There are a lot of great college baseball players around the country and to be one of the 22 players selected to represent your country is a great opportunity,” he says.
“It is an honor to put on the uniform that says USA across the chest,” he adds.
Morris, who was named SEC Freshman of the Year, is just the fifth player in Auburn history to be selected to the national team.
“This is my second go-round with Team USA and I really enjoyed it the first time,” he says, noting that he played in Cuba in 2006 for the 18-and-under national team prior to coming to Auburn. “I am happy to have that opportunity again and to represent Auburn this time as well.”
The former Grissom High star batted .229 in 35 plate appearances and added five RBI, which was third on the team, in games this month against teams in the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
Morris and his teammates will start a six-game series vs. Chinese Taipei on Wednesday before playing in the Haarlem Baseball Week in Haarlem, the Netherlands from July 5-13. The schedule includes the IV FISU World Collegiate Baseball Championship from July 17-27 in Bmo, Ostrava & Olomouc in the Czech Republic.
Other Auburn baseball players who made the national team include pitcher Gregg Olson (1987), second baseman Mark Bellhorn (1993, 1994), pitcher John Powell (1993) and pitcher Steven Register (2003).
Morris says that he is 100 percent recovered from an injury he suffered while playing for the Tigers.
Because of his busy schedule trying out for the national team, he notes that he hasn’t met Auburn’s new baseball coach, John Pawlowski, who was hired on Friday after building an impressive program at College of Charleston.
“I have talked to a couple of my roommates who met him and they told me he is a nice, cool guy,” says Morris, who notes he won’t get a chance to meet Pawlowski until he returns for fall semester classes in August.
Hunter Morris runs the bases as an AU freshman.
The first baseman adds that there is a “great sense of relief” on the team to get a new coach in place with the program in limbo waiting a replacement for Tommy Slater, who was fired in May when the Tigers did not qualify for the posteason.
Morris, who was named a Freshman All-American, led the Tigers in batting average with a .351 mark. In 54 games he hit 11 homers and drove home 49 runners. He posted a .597 slugging percentage and a .433 on-base percentage. He added 15 doubles and two triples.
Morris notes that he is honored to get the chance to represent his country. “I feel a great sense of pride,” he says.
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2008 Auburn Football Guide