If it weren’t for sophomore Jordan Powell’s performance at the plate in last year’s Atlantic 10 baseball tournament, URI would not have made it as far as it did.

In the second round of the tournament, Powell stepped to the plate and drove the ball through the infield for a game-winning hit against the University of Richmond. Then, two days later in an elimination game against Davidson College, Powell went 2-for-4 and drove in three RBIs.

Even in the team’s loss to Virginia Commonwealth University in the championship game, he still recorded two hits and an RBI.

This season, Powell has continued where he left off last year. He leads the team in hits, batting average, stolen bases and on-base percentage.

For an athlete as talented as Powell, you would expect he had a clear-cut path to collegiate baseball. However, that was not the case. Since high school, he was faced with crucial decisions that would have a drastic effect on his career.

First, Powell had to choose which sport he wanted to pursue. He was a three-sport athlete for his high school in Houston, Texas. He was the school’s running back, point guard and an All-District, All-State, All-Area and All-Region honoree in baseball.

“I had to make a choice,” Powell said. “I liked baseball a lot, and realistically, I thought I had the best shot playing baseball. I was very passionate about the sport, so I stuck with it.”

Powell excelled in baseball his senior year, and was awarded as the team’s Offensive MVP. His recruitment process, however didn’t come easy. URI didn’t begin recruiting him until the summer of his senior year. At the time, he was already committed to Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. However, former head coach Jim Foster convinced him to visit Rhode Island in June after his senior year, and he loved it.

“I fell in love with the state of Rhode Island in the summer,” Powell said. “It was beautiful and I loved the campus. I thought it was a good fit for me.”

However, that was of course before he experienced snow.

“It was a culture shock my freshman year,” Powell said. “It was my first time actually seeing real snow. I’m not going to sugarcoat it – the snow sucks a little bit. Usually in Texas, it’s warm by late March. But, in my freshman year, we were still having snow in mid-April.”

Powell is studying environmental science and management at URI. In high school, he graduated in the top 10 percent of his class.

“If you stay on task and take care of business early, the academics aren’t that bad. Sometimes it can be tough, but it’s not too overwhelming for me.”