LEXINGTON, Ky. – Sean Hjelle (pictured) is the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week after pitching a complete game shutout at Texas A&M in the league opener for both clubs, it was announced Monday, March 20 by the league office. It is Hjelle’s first Pitcher of the Week award, although he was SEC Co-Freshman of the Week for week of May 9, 2016.
The 6-foot-11 sophomore right-hander was dominant against the Aggies’ daunting offense, becoming the first SEC pitcher to post a shutout in College Station since A&M joined the league before the 2013 season. Hjelle gave up just four hits, only walked one and struck out a career-high nine in the longest of his five career starts. He went to a three-ball count just three times and only two batters reached second base, none after the fourth inning.
Hjelle’s performance was UK’s first nine-inning complete game shutout since Dustin Beggs blanked South Carolina on May 7, 2016. The White Bear Lake, Minn. native’s effort pushed UK to its first win in a SEC road opener since 2007 at LSU and set the tone for the Cats’ first true road series sweep since 2008, first sweep of a ranked SEC team since 2012 and first road series win over a ranked SEC foe since 2015. Texas A&M entered the weekend with an 80-15 record at home since the start of the 2015 season.
For the season, Hjelle is 3-1 with a 4.99 ERA and has struck out 29 in a team-high 30.2 innings.
UK Athletics Photo