Marzilli’s path to the D-backs has been an exciting one

Mar 4, 2016, 2:48 PM
Evan Marzilli hopes to have an injury-free 2016 season. (Photo by Shelly Bolt/Cronkite News)...
Evan Marzilli hopes to have an injury-free 2016 season. (Photo by Shelly Bolt/Cronkite News)
(Photo by Shelly Bolt/Cronkite News)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — There was a common phrase that roamed around South Carolina’s campus in 2012:

“Two thirds of the earth is covered by water; the other third is covered Evan Marzilli.”

Known for his acrobatic diving grabs as a member of the Gamecocks, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Evan Marzilli had an outstanding career at South Carolina, winning back-to-back College World Series titles in 2010 and 2011 while hitting .302 with eight home runs and 75 RBI during his three years at the school.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “The best three years of my life, that’s how I describe it. I had so much fun there and that shaped me into the player I am today.”

Born in Fall River, Massachusetts and moving to Cranston, Rhode Island when he was eight, Marzilli’s game plan for playing baseball with his friends growing up was simple:

“I played baseball basically as much as we could until Fall when it got cold.”

He also played basketball and a little bit of ice hockey during his youth, but baseball was always his favorite.

Marzilli played at Cranston Western Little League. Marzilli’s teams at Cranston Western were never as successful as the one in 2015 that made the Little League World Series for first time ever. Marzilli knew some of the players and was excited for them, sending gifts to the team.

“That’s where it all started for me. I was really happy for them. Actually, my neighbor played on that team so I tried to hook him up as much as I could and it was awesome seeing the hometown.”

Rhode Island doesn’t have the rich baseball history like other states do, but Marzilli still had pros he admired.

“There were always guys that you looked up to. Rocco Baldelli is a Rhode Island legend. Obviously that was a goal to strive to be. (Chris) Iannetta is not talked about as much but he’s probably one of the greatest players to ever come out of Rhode Island.”

Marzilli and Baldelli do have something in common: Both won baseball state championships at powerhouse Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, R.I.

After his stellar career at South Carolina, Marzilli was taken in the eighth round in the 2012 MLB Draft by the D-backs and reported to their rookie ball team, the Missoula Osprey, where he led the team in hitting with a .332 average.

Marzilli spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons in Single and Double-A before starting the 2015 season in Triple-A with the Reno Aces.

However, he hit a roadblock.

After a hot start to the season, Marzilli suffered an ankle injury Apr. 18 that sidelined him for three months. He would finish the season with a .276 average with a home run and 11 RBI.

Marzilli spent this offseason working on becoming more consistent.

“Working here with the trainers, they did a great job and I worked with coaches on hitting and being more consistent. That’s my thing I need to work on the most. I have been working on that every offseason. I am just trying to get better every year.”

Through his first two games this spring, Marzilli has two hits and an RBI in five at-bats.

Being over 2,000 miles away from home can be tough for a ballplayer and for Marzilli, there is one thing he misses the most.

“My mom’s home-cooked meals. You can’t beat Italian dinners.”

His favorite?

“Her sauce is unbelievable and the meatballs she makes is better than any restaurant I have ever been too. Pretty much everything she cooks. Anytime I go home, first thing I get is sausage soup. Home-cooked meals are things I miss the most.”

As he continues his baseball career, there could be a day when Marzilli dives into the pool and saves a run.

Because after all, Marzilli covers one-third of the earth.

Penguin Air

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Marzilli’s path to the D-backs has been an exciting one