Thompson Earns Two National Pitcher of Week Awards
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky junior left-hander Zack Thompson has been named National Pitcher of the Week by both the National College Baseball Writers Association and Perfect Game, it was announced on Tuesday. Thompson had previously been named Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week after his brilliant complete game shutout of No. 4 Georgia over the weekend.
In last Friday’s 5-0 win over the Bulldogs, Thompson struck out a career-high 13 batters and allowing only two infield hits in the first complete game of his career. Thompson, who lowered his season earned run average to 2.06 in seven starts, delivered a career effort when his team needed it most as the Wildcats won their first game of the season over a Top 10 opponent. The complete game shutout was the first for a UK pitcher since Sean Hjelle blanked No. 13 Texas A&M in College Station on March 17, 2017.
A native of Selma, Ind., Thompson dominated the Bulldogs from beginning to end, striking out four in the first two innings and then recording the final six outs of the game via strikeout. The only blemishes were an infield single and a bunt single as he set a new career-high with 124 pitches and got stronger as the game went along.
The preseason All-America and All-SEC southpaw also became the 14th players in school history to reach 200 career strikeouts and currently ranks 10th among all active Division I pitchers (min. 75 innings) with 12.33 strikeouts per nine innings. He leads the SEC in strikeouts this season with 68 in 43.2 innings.
Of note from Friday’s effort:
- His final line: 9.0 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts.
- Gave the Cats their first SEC win and first win over a ranked team this season.
- It’s the first complete game shutout for a UK pitcher since Sean Hjelle twirled a gem at #13 Texas A&M on March 17, 2017.
- Thompson set new career-highs in innings, strikeouts and pitches.
- The 13 strikeouts are the most for a UK pitcher since Hjelle had 13 vs. Oakland on Feb. 23, 2018.
- It’s just the sixth time a UK pitcher has struck out 13 or more hitters since 2006 (Chris Rusin and James Paxton, 14; Alex Meyer (twice) and Hjelle, 13.
- Both hits were infield hits, including one bunt single.
- He now has 206 career strikeouts, making him the 14th player to reach at least 200 in school history.
- He needs nine strikeouts to enter the school’s career top 10.
- On the season, Thompson has 68 strikeouts in 43.2 IP, good for 14.02 per game.
- Thompson ranks third on UK’s career winning percentage list at .750 (12-4).
- He ranks second on UK’s career hits allowed per nine innings list (6.11).