Fifth-year senior outfielder Matt Ramsay didn’t know where he wanted to go to college, but he knew he would be leaving his hometown of Hudson, Ohio.
Undrafted out of high school, Ramsay ended up in Spartanburg, S.C., at Wofford College — a liberal arts college with 1,600 students. There, he played both catcher and outfielder, but spent the majority of his time behind the plate. In his final season at Wofford, he led the Terriers with a .359 batting average alongside 84 hits and 14 stolen bases.
That season, he was named to the All-Southern Conference Second Team and the Southern Conference All-Tournament Team. He was also named to the Academic All-America Baseball First Team.
“I loved my time at Wofford and in the Southern Conference,” Ramsay said. “Never in a million years did I think I would end up here in Ann Arbor. That’s just the way it happened.”
It didn’t take long for Ramsay to make Ann Arbor his home.
“(Transitioning) was my biggest fear coming into it,” Ramsay said. “But luckily there’s another fifth-year senior on the team, (catcher Dominic) Jamett. I can’t say enough good things about these guys. They’re just outstanding teammates, students and talented athletes. They’ve really accepted me as a player.”
Ramsay also attributed the smooth transition to living with junior infielder Michael Brdar, who transferred to Michigan in 2015 from Diablo Valley College.
Despite his recent arrival to the team, Ramsay has been playing well. Through 34 games this season, Ramsay’s numbers are on pace to nearly equal the offensive breakthrough he had in his last season with at Wofford. At the No. 2 spot in the lineup, he is currently hitting at a .276 clip along with 37 hits and 17 stolen bases.
His best game of the season came against Northwestern on April 1, when he hit 5-for-6, driving in seven runs and collecting three homers. That day, Ramsay wasn’t just another ballplayer, but the star of the batting order.
Along with Ramsay’s prowess at the plate, he is also skilled at flashing the leather. He hasn’t recorded an error this season, leaving him with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in the outfield.
Michigan coach Erik Bakich has also been very impressed with how quickly Ramsay established himself in the Wolverine lineup.
“(Ramsay) stabilizes our offense,” Bakich said. “We lost some key pieces this year, and he comes in and he brings experience and leadership. He’s a savvy veteran who has seen and played a lot of baseball. Having Matt has been a huge addition.”
The level of play in the Big Ten is drastically more challenging than the Southern Conference. But when Ramsay recorded his first RBI as a Wolverine against then-No.10 California on Feb. 29, it was apparent that Ramsay had solidified himself as an athlete that could compete in a Power Five conference.
Ramsay hasn’t seemed to notice too many changes yet, though.
“During my time at Wofford, we played Clemson, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and other mid-major schools,” Ramsay said. “We’ve played other mid-major schools here at Michigan, so it’s been pretty comparable so far.”
Having the strongest individual offensive game of the season thus far and being the team leader in steals, Ramsay has shown that he can thrive in every facet of the game — something that the Wolverines are going to need in order to improve on last season’s tournament run.