It’s been a tough offseason for the Kentucky baseball program, but things have turned around in a big way recently.
The good news continued this week with three players — right-handed pitcher Sean Harney, left-handed pitcher Mason Hazelwood, and right-handed pitcher Daniel Harper — announcing they will return for the 2022 season. All three will be seniors.
Hazelwood, from Salvisa (KY), was off to a sensational start in 2021 before an elbow injury prematurely ended his campaign after five starts. He underwent Tommy John surgery in March and continues the rehabilitation process with an eye toward next spring.
“We’re thrilled Mason is returning,” head coach Nick Mingione said in a press release. “He continues to put in the work it’s going to take to come back ready to help us next spring. He will bring a wealth of experience to the pitching staff.”
The 6-foot-5 lefty was 3-0 with a 2.13 earned run average in 2021, which included one relief appearance in addition to his starting assignments. He pitched 25.1 innings, allowing only six earned runs, striking out 32 and walking just nine while holding opponents to a .228 batting average. He recorded a career-high 12 strikeouts in 6.0 innings vs. Georgia State and holds a career strikeouts-per-nine innings rate of 10.0 per nine.
Harney, hailing from Natick (MA), went 3-2 with a 3.69 earned run average in 46.1 innings this past season. He led the team in saves with six and started six games in conference play, making him the only pitcher in school history to save that many victories while also starting at least six.
Harper, from Fairway (KS), led the team in appearances with 23 and went 4-1 with a 4.35 ERA in 31.0 innings. He racked up 30 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .239 average.
“We could not be more excited to welcome Sean and Daniel back for another season,” Mingione said. “Both are extremely talented and proven arms that provide leadership and experience to our pitching staff.”