Justin Lewis, an 11th round selection by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2017 MLB Draft, has decided to return to Kentucky for his Junior season.
Lewis will be a redshirt junior for the Wildcats in 2018 and solidifies one of the best pitching staffs in the SEC, alongside SEC Pitcher of the Year Sean Hjelle and Zach Thompson.
Lewis, a 6-7 RHP, was Kentucky’s Sunday starter this past season and will likely take the ball on Saturday’s for the Wildcats next season. Lewis had a solid 2017 season, which saw him post a 6-4 record, with an ERA of 3.56. The right-hander struck out 72 batters across 91 innings this past season.
Lewis came to Kentucky from Suwanee, (GA) and faced a lot of adversity off the field early on at UK. The passing of his father during his redshirt freshman season took a toll on Lewis, who almost decided to give up baseball and return home with his mother. His mother, Robin Lewis made him return to Kentucky, because that is what his father would have wanted him to do. SEC Country’s, Kyle Tucker wrote an amazing story about Lewis and the adversity he has faced.
Lewis continues to honor his father on the mound and Joe Lewis would be very proud of his son and what he is accomplishing at the University of Kentucky. Lewis will return for his redshirt junior season and complete his degree. The right-hander will likely improve his draft selection and receive a better opportunity in next summers MLB Draft.
In an interview with UK media relations, Lewis was asked about his decision to return to Lexington-
“I’m extremely excited to return to Kentucky and play in front of the Big Blue Nation for another year,” said Lewis. “The opportunity to work with our coaching staff and continue my development as a student, a person and player was important to me and my family.”
During the interview, Lewis also went on to thank multiple people, including the team that drafted him-
“I’d like to thank my teammates, coaches, friends and family for their support through this process, as well as the Tampa Bay organization for the opportunity.”
Photo UK Athletics