Miles Lewis may be new to the Michigan baseball team, but he isn’t new to college baseball. After transferring from the University of North Dakota, the redshirt sophomore left fielder wasted no time in making his mark for the Wolverines.
As a Fighting Hawk, Lewis finished the 2016 season as the Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and a freshman All-American. At the end of the season he had a .360 batting average and 63 hits.
The Wolverines’ new left fielder faced the transition to Michigan due to North Dakota’s decision to cut its baseball program, leaving some uncertainty for players like Lewis. He didn’t allow this allow this to affect his game, though. If anything, he’s only gotten better.
In all likelihood, it was disappointing for Lewis when the Fighting Hawks’ program got cut, but fortunately for Michigan, it received what could be its most prolific threat on offense this season.
“We were fortunate enough to get him, he was a heck of a player last year,” said Michigan coach Erik Bakich. “He brings that impact ability to come in and solidify an outfield role and hit towards the top of the order and I think you’ll see good things out of him.”
Lewis boasts a lot of accomplishments already in his career, and if this weekend is any indication, he will earn a lot more as a Wolverine.
This weekend, Michigan traveled to Port St. Lucie, Fla. to battle Seton Hall, and though the Wolverines split the four-game series with the Pirates, Lewis provided a nice silver lining.
After a shaky start in Michigan’s season opener Friday, in which Lewis failed to get a single hit in five at-bats, he finished the weekend strong.
In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, both teams were locked at seven runs apiece, forcing the game into extra innings. Lewis, though, would have none of it.
In the bottom of the 10th inning, Lewis knocked the first pitch he saw into shallow right field for a walk-off single, proving he could handle the pressure.
In that first game, Lewis had the hot bat, leading the team with four hits and driving in his game-deciding run.
His experience showed as he spearheaded the Wolverines’ comeback late in the game. He began Michigan’s fifth inning rally with a single to right field and later would score on an RBI single from senior catcher Harrison Wenson.
Lewis used his momentum to carry him into the second game. He notched two hits in three at-bats, but more importantly for Michigan, he earned these hits with men on base – driving in three runs in the third game of the weekend.
Though Lewis’ best day was Saturday, he proved once again Sunday that he could come in clutch when the Wolverines needed it the most.
With Michigan down by a run in the bottom of the third, Lewis led the offense to a four-run inning. After sophomore second baseman Ako Thomas singled and stole two bases, he stood at third base with Lewis up to bat.
Lewis singled to right center, nothing particularly fancy, but did the job, bringing Thomas home. After that, the runs just kept coming, with the Wolverines scoring three more times.
“Main thing is falling back on the training this fall, a lot of mental toughness training,” Lewis said. “That’s what our coaches prepared us for.”
After a stellar first weekend, Lewis leads Michigan with a .389 batting average and seven hits. With only one weekend under his belt, it will be exciting to see how Lewis grows with his new program.