OMAHA, Neb — On Friday, Texas Tech will be playing Michigan for the fifth time this season. The Wolverine lineup will be staring down Micah Dallas for the third time this year and the second in a week. Karl Kauffmann will be playing the explosive Red Raider offense for the third time this year and the second time this week.
So it's safe to say the two teams know each other well.
But it’s baseball, and teams are always changing — even ones you played six days ago.
OMAHA, Neb. — Pitching has been the name of the game for Michigan since the NCAA Super Regional, where no game has been decided by more than two runs. With Karl Kauffmann, Jeff Criswell and Tommy Henry on the mound, opposing offenses are stumped.
For the Wolverines, though, their offense has gone up against walls as formidable as Michigan’s terrific trio.
While other coaches were mingling about the infield or watching the players warm up from afar, Michigan coach Erik Bakich was amidst the players, with them every step. On Saturday morning, three hours prior to the Wolverines’ first game in the Men’s College World Series since 1984, Bakich was given the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s Coach of the Year Award.
Last year, Jeff Criswell pitched 32.1 innings, holding opposing teams to a microscopic .168 batting average. The right-handed sophomore was Michigan’s closer, tried and true, but this year his role has grown.
OMAHA, Neb. – On Saturday, in Michigan’s biggest game of the season, four of its five runs came with two outs, continuing a pattern that has played a crucial role ever since its walk-off win over No. 20 Illinois.
For Michigan, playing free and loose has always been how they achieve success. Without being scared of losing, missing a pitch or hitting a ground ball, the Wolverines scored 10 runs against Maryland, 18 against Nebraska and 17 against Creighton. With that freedom, they win and win big.
The past two weeks, the Michigan baseball team has captured the attention of every college baseball fan in the country as it’s made a run to the College World Series.
At first, though, it wasn’t even clear the Wolverines would make the tournament; they had barely avoided an early exit from the Big Ten Tournament with a walk-off double from Jordan Nwogu, and before that, they had relinquished the Big Ten regular season title in two straight series losses to Indiana and Nebraska.