Mason Moore Overcomes Illness, Lifts Cats Past ISU

Mason Moore Overcomes Illness, Lifts Cats Past ISU

by Tim Letcher

On Saturday afternoon, Kentucky starting pitcher Mason Moore was physically ill. In fact, Moore was so sick that he needed medical attention from the UK trainers.

“It kind of hit me yesterday right before the game in the morning I had a stomach bug,” Moore said. (Athletic trainer) Richie (Wells) and the trainer, they got me right. They put two bags of IVs in my arm yesterday. And I actually didn’t watch the game much; I was at the house resting up. They got me right. All thanks to them. And they got me ready for today.”

When Moore got to Kentucky Proud Park on Sunday for UK’s game against Indiana State in the Lexington Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament, there was absolutely no doubt as to whether or not Moore would be able to take the mound. However, UK head coach Nick Mingione had gotten a text from Moore and knew his right-hander was ready to go.

“I just pulled it up on my phone, that’s what I was looking for,” Mingione said. “At 7:36 my phone goes off. It’s a text message from Mason. This is what he said: ‘Here we go!’ That’s what he said. ‘Just to update you, I’m feeling better and back to normal. I’m ready to throw and win us a ball game tomorrow, Coach’.”

When game time arrived, Moore drew upon everything he has inside and gutted his way through six shutout innings against one of college baseball’s best offenses. Moore allowed four hits and walked three while striking out six. Moore knew that he could count on the defense behind him.

“When you have a defense like we have, I wasn’t afraid to make the pitch down the middle or where I needed to,” Moore said. “I think that’s what helped me out the most tonight was just trusting my defense, trusting the guys behind me and knowing they’ll make plays.”

Moore was huge for the Cats in last year’s Lexington Regional as well and Mingione has seen the Morehead native grow since his arrival on campus.

“Mason, what he’s been able to do for us and to watch his growth, from him being in high school, sending us videos of him dunking, and me wondering, better show some videos of striking some dudes out (laughter),” Mingione said. “Just the commitment and the growth that he has shown and how much better he’s gotten. I mean, he has the clutch gene. You guys know that. And to have a guy from Kentucky do this two years in a row, two years in a row — to have somebody from his state school that bleeds blue. He and his family have been awesome.”

Moore has now pitched 20.1 innings in NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals without giving up a run. He knew that, despite not being physically at his best, his team needed him on Sunday against Indiana State. What he delivered was a performance that he and the team will remember for the rest of their lives.

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