Mason Moore Assuming New Role for UK Baseball in 2024

Mason Moore Assuming New Role for UK Baseball in 2024

At the end of the 2023 college baseball season, there weren’t many, maybe not any, pitchers better than Kentucky’s Mason Moore. The righthander is back for 2024, and he’s looking forward to taking on a different role for this year’s Cats.

How good was Moore late last season? The numbers really do tell the story. In the NCAA Lexington Regional and the Baton Rouge Super Regional, Moore made three appearances and was dazzling in all of them.

First, he pitched against Ball State in the Cats’ first game of the Lexington Regional. Moore came on in relief and pitched five innings, allowing no hits, no runs and striking out two. He was the winning pitcher in that contest.

Three nights later, when Kentucky faced Indiana in the regional championship game, Moore again came out of the bullpen and shut the door. He allowed four hits, but no runs, one walk and five strikeouts. He was, again, the winning pitcher.

In the Baton Rouge Regional, with Kentucky facing elimination against homestanding LSU, Moore was spectacular once again. Pitching in relief, he went 4.1 innings, allowing two hits, no runs, two walks and striking out five. Ultimately, UK lost that came but Moore’s streak of 14.1 innings of postseason baseball without giving up a run was more than noteworthy.

For the season, Moore finished with a 4-1 record with a 1.80 ERA. He made 22 appearances, all in relief. He pitched 55 innings, gave up just 11 earned runs and struck out 54.

Now, Moore looks to build on those long relief outings as he moves into a starting role this season.

“It’s been a goal of mine since I’ve been here to be a starter,” Moore said. “The biggest thing for me, right now, is trying to figure out my routine.”

Going from the bullpen to the rotation can be tough, but Moore sees it as an extension of how he ended 2023.

“No worries because at the end of the year last year, I was throwing three or four innings at a time,” Moore said. “Obviously, it’s different but I’m confident in what I’ve done.”

Being a starting pitcher means using all of one’s pitches effectively. Moore has a very good fastball and changeup, and continues to improve his breaking ball.

“Everything has to be working,” Moore said of being a starter. “For my secondary, I rely on my changeup. Being able to have all of your secondary pitches is helpful.”

Kentucky head coach Nick Mingione knows that the Cats will lean heavily on Moore this season.

“Mason Moore is one of the guys who’s going to lead our staff,” Mingione said. “Just a special arm. Looking back to last year’s regional win, I think it’s awesome that a Kentuckian was on the mound when we got that last out and we could celebrate.”

Mingione likes what Moore brings to the starting rotation.

“He’s going to move into a starter’s role, he’s ready for it, he’s earned it,” Mingione said. “His fastball, breaking ball and changeup are all awesome pitches and unique in their own way. So he’s going to get the opportunity to start games for us and that’s big for our team and he’s ready for it.”

Moore played a key role in Kentucky’s regional championship last season. If the Cats are to do the same, and maybe more, this season, Moore will have a big part in that as well.

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