The baseball season may not have been going the way he wanted it to, but junior third baseman Drew Lugbauer rises to the occasion when it matters most.
“It’s a byproduct of the investment of time that he puts into work on his swing and work on his game,” said Michigan coach Erik Bakich. “I don’t know anyone who works harder than that kid in the cages and in the hitting den.”
In the Wolverines third game against Northern Illinois, it was the bottom of the ninth inning, there were two outs and runners on first and third base. Lugbauer crushed the ball over the right field wall for a walk-off 3-run homerun. His teammates were there to greet him at the plate, but the celebration couldn’t last forever as the second game of the double header was quickly approaching.
When looking at Lugbauer’s overall weekend series against the Huskies, he doesn’t appear to be the difference maker. His batting average is .205, the lowest of the starters, and has only 15 hits on the year.
But people might miss the fact that he leads the team in RBI.
He currently has 15 RBI this season, with nine coming over the weekend against the Huskies.
Lugbauer sparked his strong weekend showing in Thursday’s home opener, where he picked up four RBI with one swing of the bat. With two outs and the bases loaded, he hit a grand slam to put the Wolverines ahead.
The pressure doesn’t seem to bother Lugbauer much. He has made a trend of hitting home runs with two outs. In the last game of the weekend, he hit a solo homerun to center field.
“It’s just kind of what we train in practice for,” Lugbauer said. “Throughout the fall we do a bunch of competitions, a bunch of toughness training. In those moments the pressures off us and more on the other team. I was just lucky enough to get up in that situation. I think anyone else could have done the same thing.”
Lugbauer has the capability to be an offensive threat, but he has yet to be consistent. He may have hit three home runs over the weekend, but he paired that performance with five strikeouts.
This weekend brought highs and lows for the junior, but fortunately for the Wolverines, the highs came at the perfect time.