LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky freshman pitcher Sean Hjelle (pictured) has been named the Co-Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week by the league office after tossing four scoreless innings in relief Sunday, May 8, in Kentucky’s key series-clinching victory over No. 2 South Carolina.
Hjelle, a 6-foot-11, 200-pound righty from White Bear Lake, Minn., came on in relief in the ninth inning and tossed four brilliant innings for Kentucky on Sunday with the Wildcats eventually outlasting South Carolina, 5-4. The outing was his longest of the season, with his previous long being one inning in multiple occasions.
The freshman did a masterful job getting out of a jam in the 11th inning after the Gamecocks started the inning with a walk and a single to put runners at the corners with no out. Hjelle went to work after the single, striking out three South Carolina hitters to end the threat and keep the score tied 4-4. Kentucky won the game when rightfielder Dorian Hairston led off the bottom of the 12th inning with a home run, making Hjelle the winning pitcher for the Wildcats.
On the season, Hjelle (whose name is pronounced the same as "jelly") is 4-0 with a 2.33 earned run average, appearing in 19 games with 19.1 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting .253 against the righty this season, with Hjelle striking out 26 batters and allowing just two extra-base hits all season long.
The Wildcats will return to action Tuesday when they travel for a 6 p.m. ET first pitch at Indiana, before a three-game set at Ole Miss that starts Thursday night.
UK Athletics Photo