Vicksburg native Lewis named Sun Belt Player of the Year; USM’s Hall is Pitcher of the Year

Published 4:09 pm Monday, May 22, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — Shane Lewis has hit a bunch of home runs this season, but on Monday he entered the history books with a double.

The Vicksburg native and former Warren Central star was named both the Sun Belt Conference baseball Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, adding two more accolades to an ever-expanding list of them.

The sophomore outfielder set Troy’s school record and leads the Sun Belt with 27 home runs, 76 RBIs, 151 total bases and a .774 slugging percentage.

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Lewis also ranks second among all NCAA Division players in home runs and is tied for ninth in RBIs. He has a .308 batting average.

Lewis is only the third person to win both the Player and Newcomer of the Year awards in the same season and the first since New Mexico State’s Billy Becher in 2003.

“What else can possibly be stated about the storybook year he has put together,” Troy coach Skylar Meade said. “There is zero doubt that he earned being the 2023 Sun Belt Player and Newcomer of the Year. He is an amazing teammate, a true superstar, and one of the most talented players in college baseball.”

Lewis is in his first season at Troy after taking a winding road to get there. He graduated from Warren Central in 2020 and signed with Mississippi State. He earned a national championship ring with the Bulldogs as a redshirt freshman in 2021, but transferred to Chipola Junior College in Florida after the season.

Lewis then came to Troy this year and has quickly become one of the best players in the program’s history. He broke Troy’s single-season home run record with his 27th in a 7-5 win over Appalachian State last Thursday.

Lewis is still chasing the Sun Belt Conference season record of 32 home runs, set by Becher in 2003. Lewis’ 27 home runs are the most by a Sun Belt player since 2009, and tied for the fourth-highest total in conference history.

The Trojans (38-18) are the No. 3 seed in the Sun Belt Tournament and will play Appalachian State (27-23) again on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in Montgomery, Alabama.

Lewis wasn’t the only player to double up on the awards. Southern Miss’ Tanner Hall was named the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year, adding it to the Conference USA Pitcher of the Year award that he won in 2022.

The junior right-hander led the Sun Belt with 11 wins and a 2.45 ERA over a conference-high 88.0 innings pitched. He struck out 100 batters ­— the second-most in the conference — while holding opponents to a conference-low .203 batting average.

Both Lewis and Hall were also selected to the All-Sun Belt first team.

Southern Miss shortstop Dustin Dickerson made the first team as well, and third basmean Danny Lynch was on the second team.

Dickerson leads the Golden Eagles in batting average with a .321 mark, to go along with a team-best 18 doubles, two triples and four home runs. Lynch has 10 home runs, including a pair of grand slams in an 11-9 win over Louisiana-Lafayette in Saturday’s regular-season finale.

Southern Miss (36-17) is the No. 2 seed for the Sun Belt Tournament and will play Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. Its opening-game opponent will be determined after Tuesday’s single-elimination round is completed.