By Matt May
University of Kentucky Athletics
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky juniors Sean Hjelle and Tristan Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) have been named preseason First-Team All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game, respectively. The honour follows a 2017 season that saw each player burst onto the national scene with eye-opening performances.
Hjelle, the reigning Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year, earned first-team honors from Collegiate Baseball and third-team recognition from Perfect Game. The 6-foot-11 junior from White Bear Lake, Minn., went 11-4 with a 3.89 earned run average in 2017, striking out 102 hitters in 108 1/3 innings. The 11 victories are the fourth-most in a single season in UK history.
As the Wildcats’ Friday night starter, Hjelle was even better in SEC play, going 7-1 with a 1.90 ERA, becoming the first player in school history to win SEC Pitcher of the Year. He is now 15-5 in two seasons, good for a .750 career winning percentage that ranks third on University of Kentucky's (UK) all-time chart.
Pompey, who was a First-Team All-SEC and Third-Team All-American in 2017, was recognized on the strength of his incredible sophomore season. The Mississauga, Ont., native was named preseason First-Team All-American by Perfect Game and Third-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball.
The 6-foot-4 outfielder hit .361 with 18 doubles, 10 home runs, 45 RBI and 70 runs scored in 2017. He set the UK single-season record for at bats (266) and his 96 hits ranked second nationally and third on the school’s single-season chart. Pompey also ranked among the nation’s elite players in runs scored with 70, which was fifth nationally and third on UK’s single-season list. He had 29 multi-hit games and enters the 2018 season with a 37-game reached base streak.
The Wildcats are ranked No. 8 in Collegiate Baseball’s preseason poll and open their season at Wofford on Feb. 16.