With the elimination of three teams from the College World Series, it is time to reseed the remaining five, and one is the surprise of the tournament. Michigan, which was 100/1 to win the National Championship, wasn’t even expected to make the CWS. They are now the No. 2 seed, behind Vanderbilt, who is also in the winner’s bracket. The three other teams are No. 3 Mississippi State, No. 4 Louisville, and No. 5 Texas Tech.
MSU and Louisville will play an elimination game today, to see who will face Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs are a -140 favorite, while Louisville is +120.
MSU freshman pitcher JT Ginn will be entrusted in keeping the Bulldogs alive in the tournament and manager Chris Lemonis told the Clarion-Ledger that the team is confident in the first-year player.
“He’ll go out there and pitch a good game and compete for us like he’s done all year long,” Lemonis said. “It should be a good matchup for him.”
Michigan Continues Unlikely Run
The Wolverines have mowed through their competition. They reached the tournament by defeating No. 1 ranked UCLA in a super regional. The Bruins were the favorite to win the CWS at 8/1 odds.
When Michigan got to Omaha they were the last seed among the eight teams, and had odds of 15/1 to win. It worked as motivation for the team, according to manager Erik Bakich.
“The great thing about our lineup is that on any given day there’s capable players throughout one-through-nine that can have a great day and be the difference maker in that game,” Bakich said.
They play Texas Tech on Friday, a team they have already beaten. A victory gets them to the finals.
Strong Pitching Key
While the offense has been productive, it is the pitching that has been a big reason for Michigan’s success. Since the Super Regional, all five of their games have been decided by two runs or less. The Wolverines are 4-1 in those games, including going undefeated so far in the CWS.
In their first game they faced No. 8 Texas Tech and starting pitcher Karl Kauffman gave up three runs in seven innings to get the win, 5-3. In the second game Michigan pitcher Tommy Henry went the distance pitching a three-hit shutout against Florida State, 2-0.
“I think we’re all just in awe and very appreciative of holding down a very good Florida State team tonight, who’s been extremely hot and finding every single way to win,” Bakich said after the victory. “Tommy was just — I don’t even know if there’s an adjective to describe how good he was, but he was better than that.”
One Game Away
Vanderbilt, like Michigan, is one win away from reaching the finals. They will face the winner of the Friday’s MSU-Louisville game. The Commodores have now advanced to the winner’s bracket for the fourth time in four trips to the CWS.
Manager Tim Corbin said the team knows what is at stake on Friday, but is not looking beyond that game.
“We just move the tournament to Friday, that’s all that matters,” Corbin said. “We’re not thinking ahead.”