I was wrong to question Christian Moore. Like, ever.

Let’s back up a second. On Friday, I wrote a “10 SEC questions for the College World Series” column. Item No. 2 was “which version of Christian Moore will we get?”

While the Tennessee lead-off man hit more home runs in a season than any second baseman in the history of the sport en route to an All-American season, lingering in the back of my mind was Game 2 of the Super Regional against Evansville, wherein he wasn’t dialed in offensively or defensively. That included when the game was on the line, and instead of playing hero with the bases loaded in a 10-8 game, Moore’s hitless day concluded with an anticlimactic fly out to right field.

Guys can have off days. Even superstars can have off days. There’s no shame in that.

Fast forward 6 days later against Florida State to start the College World Series on Friday night. Fast forward past the lead-off triple that Moore hit against arguably the top pitcher in the College World Series in Jamie Arnold. Fast forward past the home run that Moore hit to center field, where balls usually go to die at Charles Schwab Field. Shoot, fast forward past Moore hitting for the cycle — something teammates had to inform him about because he was so dialed in — and becoming the first player to do so in a College World Series game since 1956.

With the game on the line, I still questioned Moore. Somehow.

I assumed that there was no way Moore could possibly add anything else to this legendary performance. Surely he couldn’t keep the game alive after the Vols faced a 3-run deficit entering the 9th.

Oh, how wrong I was.

It wasn’t enough that Moore rocketed a 2-out double down the left-field line for hit No. 5 (and extra-base hit No. 4) on the night. How fitting it was that he recorded the game-tying run on a 2-RBI Blake Burke single. Ultimately, it was Burke who scored the game-winning run on a Dylan Dreiling single, much to the chagrin of Florida State fans who argued that the game should’ve ended with Burke’s check swing with 2 strikes.

Some will talk about that forever. I get it. An FSU team that was desperate to get one step closer to finally earning its first national title was a borderline call away from beating the No. 1 overall seed. Another borderline postseason call didn’t go in FSU’s way … sound familiar?

Talk about that if you wish, but I’d rather talk about Moore’s brilliance forever.

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What the man called “C-Mo” did on Friday night should go down as one of the greatest individual performances we’ve seen in the history of the College World Series, and perhaps even college sports. On that stage, he went 5-for-5 with 4 extra-base hits, including one to extend the game in the middle of a ferocious late comeback. I repeated that because it would’ve been a clutch day for Moore even if you took away the cycle. You know, the thing that hadn’t happened in Omaha in 68 years.

I repeated that, as well because knowing Moore, he probably had to be reminded of that again after the game.

ESPN cameras captured the scene when his teammates initially told him of that feat:

Yeah, that was all of our faces watching Moore. Florida State fans probably had a different expression watching Moore deposit line drives to whatever part of the ballpark he wanted. No fastball had too much heat and no breaking ball had too much movement for Moore.

But even when Cal Stark’s pop-out prevented FSU from a potential double play to close the game out without facing Moore, Seminole fans couldn’t have felt particularly good … right? Or maybe they were like me and thought that the guy who had already hit for the cycle couldn’t possibly have any heroics left. After all, it’s baseball. Surely Moore would finally face a pitcher who could force a deep, but non-threatening fly ball that ended the game.

Nope. Ambitious, that was.

There’s a healthy discussion to be had about Moore’s performance. If we want to put it in football terms, put it in the same stratosphere as Bryce Young in the 2021 SEC Championship or 2016 Deshaun Watson in the national championship against Alabama. If we want to put it in Tennessee football terms, put it in the same stratosphere as 2022 Hendon Hooker against Alabama.

The Vols needed every bit of Moore’s brilliance. On a night in which they did everything to put themselves in a hole defensively, anything less than Moore’s historic night and Tennessee’s path to a title would’ve been an uphill climb. In the last 42 years, 38 of the CWS winners won Game 1. Pivotal? You could say that.

The Vols know the other history. Like, the fact that as great as Vitello has been in Knoxville, he entered Friday at just 1-4 with 13 total runs scored in Omaha. A loss on Friday night and all the talk would’ve shifted to the fact that a No. 1 overall seed has yet to win a College World Series since 1999. But it’s hard to point to that historical hurdle when Vitello’s squad is trying to win the first national title in Tennessee baseball history.

The road to do that is still long. Even if that road doesn’t end with a title, Moore’s night deserves to be remembered among the best the sport has ever seen.

Could Tennessee get that dialed-in version of Moore throughout its time in Omaha? History says that’s unlikely.

My advice? Don’t question it.