LEXINGTON, Ky. – The postseason honors continue to come in for Kentucky, with four players named All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball, it was announced Thursday, June 1.
Pitcher Sean Hjelle (pictured) and second baseman Riley Mahan were named second-team All-Americans, while outfielder Tristan Pompey and first baseman Evan White were third-team honorees by the longtime college baseball publication.
Hjelle, a sophomore right-hander from White Bear Lake, Minn., was recently named SEC Pitcher of the Year for his work as the Wildcats’ Friday night starter. The 6-foot-11 pitcher is currently 9-3 with a 3.87 earned run average, but he went 7-1 with a 1.90 ERA in SEC play, outdueling the likes of Brigham Hill (Texas A&M), Patrick Raby (Vanderbilt), Konnor Pilkington (Miss. State), Tanner Houck (Missouri), Jared Poche’ (LSU), Will Crowe (South Carolina) and Alex Faedo (Florida). His nine wins this season move him into a tie for 6th place on Kentucky’s single-season wins list. Hjelle has allowed one earned run or less in six of his last eight starts and has given up six or fewer hits in 12 of his last 13 starts.
Mahan, a junior from Cincinnati, Ohio, quietly produced a phenomenal season in SEC play, ranking in the top three in runs (2nd), doubles (3rd), triples (1st), home runs (1st) and slugging percentage (2nd) during the regular season. He joined Mississippi State’s Brent Rooker, Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year as the only players to win SEC Player of the Week three times this season.
Pompey, who hails from Toronto, Ontario, led the conference with a .410 batting average in league games, while also tallying the most hits and finishing in the top three in runs, on base percentage and total bases.
White, who missed 13 games early in the season due to injury, still ranked among the league leaders in batting average, doubles, hits and total bases. It is the second consecutive Second-Team All-SEC honor for the Gahanna, Ohio native, who ranks ninth in UK history in career hits and fifth in career batting average.
Kentucky, meanwhile, begins play in the 2017 NCAA Baseball Tournament on Friday, June 2, facing the Ohio Bobcats at noon ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
UK (39-20) earned the right to host an NCAA Tournament Regional for just the second time in school history this season (2006 was the other). Overall, this will be Kentucky’s ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, where the Wildcats have a 14-16 overall record.
The Wildcats, who will be playing in their first NCAA Tournament since 2014, will send Sean Hjelle to the mound on Friday. Hjelle is 9-3 on the season with a 3.87 ERA. The sophomore right-hander from White Bear Lake, Minn., has struck out 91 batters this season while walking only 28 in 93 innings pitched.
UK Athletics Photo