After watching Matt Ramsay’s three-homer game against Northwestern last Friday, sophomore first baseman Drew Lugbauer wanted to get in on the fun, too.
In Wednesday’s game against Bowling Green (2-4 Mid-American, 11-18 overall), Lugbauer smacked two home runs over the right-field wall, a solo shot in the second inning and a two-run bomb in the sixth, to lead the Wolverines’ offense in their 5-0 victory. He finished the day with two homers in four at-bats, and three runs batted-in.
“Seeing the guys get quality at-bats in front of me was nice insurance,” Lugbauer said. “That helped me out and got me going. Anytime someone does something like that it’s a good a reception (by the team).”
Added Michigan coach Erik Bakich: “He’s a guy who can change the game with one swing. He’s been doing a good job of keeping the ball in the middle and making loud contact these past few games. It was good to see Drew get some big hits for us. We certainly needed them.”
Tied 0-0 in the bottom of the second inning, Lugbauer’s first homer put Michigan ahead 1-0, a lead the Wolverines never gave up.
Up 3-0 in the sixth inning, Lugbauer hit a nearly identical shot to add to the cushion for Michigan (3-0 Big Ten, 21-6).
Prior to the game, Lugbauer’s only dinger of the season came on an inside-the-park homer in Michigan’s March 19 game versus Oklahoma State.
Lugbauer was close to notching a three-homer game against the Falcons, but was robbed at the warning track in center field by outfielder Kory Brown in the third inning.
“(Ramsay) told me I was catching up to him,” Lugbauer said. “I didn’t think about it. I just thought about sticking to the approach and hitting the ball hard.”
All that junior lefty Ryan Nutof (4-1) needed to earn the victory was Lugbauer’s second inning blast. Nutof shutout the Falcons and allowed just four hits in five innings. Junior lefties Keith Lehmann and Carmen Benedetti, junior right-hander Jackson Lamb, and sophomore right-hander Bryan Pall combined to finish the final four innings. Collectively, they blanked Bowling Green and gave up only one hit.
Nutof was happy with the performance of the pitchers, and he spoke glowingly about how supportive the offense has been as of late.
“It’s awesome seeing guys like (Ramsay) and (Lugbauer) having multi-homer games,” Nutof said. “It’s so much fun and brings a lot of energy to the dugout.”
Fun and energy were welcome sights for Michigan one day after losing, 9-5, to Notre Dame. But whether the Wolverines can continue this energy without the help of multi-homer games remains to be seen.