Kentucky baseball has more reason to be happy. After what might have been one of the best, if not the best, season in franchise history.

Starting pitcher Justin Lewis announced he is returning to the Kentucky baseball roster for the 2017-18 season. Lewis was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 11th round of the MLB Draft a month ago. His decision to stay not only represents potential for next years team, but potential for Lewis to develop.

Last season, Lewis shone well for Kentucky, going 6-4 with a 3.56 ERA. Those numbers fare well considering he only allowed 77 hits on 91 innings pitched.

During his freshman year in 2016, Lewis primarily provided relief from the bullpen. He had solid outings, going 2-0 and with a 2.08 ERA. After transitioning to the starting position this year, he left no doubt behind.

He nearly pitched a perfect game against U.C Barbara, and the rest of his match-ups against SEC opponents were stellar. He had a 4-2 record and a 3.81 ERA against such opponents.

Lewis’s return is exactly what Nick Mingione and the Kentucky Wildcats need to stay in the race for the national title. Pitching can make or break a team, literally, and retaining Lewis will undoubtedly keep the Cats in the mix of things.

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