Michigan moved to within one win of advancing to the College World Series finals with a 2-0 victory over Florida State on Monday night in Omaha, Neb. Left handed starter Tommy Henry pitched a three-hit shutout, and Detroit Tigers draftee Jimmy Kerr drove in a run for the Wolverines. Michigan now needs just one win in two chances to advance to a best-of-three series for the college baseball national championship.
Outfielder Jesse Franklin opened the scoring for Michigan in the top of the first inning with a solo home run. Kerr made it 2-0 for Michigan when he singled home a run in the fifth inning. That was all the scoring that Henry needed to earn the victory.
Henry, who was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks 74th overall in the 2019 amateur player draft, yielded only a pair of doubles and an infield hit for the victory. He recorded his 127th strikeout on the season, a new school record.
Right-handed starter Karl Kauffmann, who was selected just four spots after Henry in this June’s draft, earned the victory in a 5-3 win over Texas Tech in the series opener on Saturday. Kerr had a key two run triple to pace the Michigan offense in the Wolverines’ first victory in the College World Series since 1983.
Texas Tech eliminated Arkansas earlier on Monday, and will now play Florida State in an elimination game on Wednesday. The winner of that game will play Michigan on Friday. If Michigan wins, they will advance to the finals. If Michigan loses on Friday, they will play again on Saturday in an elimination game with the winner advancing to the finals.
The finals will be a best of three series from June 24-26. The winners of Michigan’s bracket will face the winners of Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Louisville, and Auburn. The latter two teams will play an elimination game on Tuesday afternoon.
Captain Kerr has deep Michigan roots
Kerr, the Michigan team captain and first baseman, was selected by the Tigers in the 33rd round of the draft. He is the grandson of John Kerr, who pitched both games of a double header to lead Michigan to their last College World Series championship in 1962. Jimmy’s father, Derek Kerr, was a catcher for the Wolverines in 1983-84, the last time Michigan played in the College World Series.
Rare territory for the Big Ten
Not only has it been a long time since Michigan advanced to the College World Series, but only one Big Ten team, the Indiana Hoosiers in 2013, have made it to the eight-team Series in that 35-year span.
Michigan improves to 48-20 for the season. Florida State, appearing in their 40th consecutive NCAA tournament, is 42-22 for the year. The Seminoles are led by Coach Mike Martin, who is the winningest coach in NCAA history with over 2,000 victories. Michigan’s Erik Bakich was named Coach of the Year on Saturday by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Bakich has a record of 255-160 at Michigan.
Following is the schedule of remaining games in the College World Series:
All games at TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, Neb.
Tuesday, June 18
Game 7 (e): Louisville vs. Auburn, 2 p.m., ESPN
Game 8: Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State, 7 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2
Wednesday, June 19
Game 9 (e): Texas Tech vs. Florida State, 7 p.m., ESPN
Thursday, June 20
Game 10: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 loser, 8 p.m., ESPN2
Friday, June 21
Game 11: Michigan vs. Game 9 winner, 2 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2
Game 12: Game 8 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 7 p.m., ESPN
Saturday, June 22
Bracket 1 (if necessary): 2 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2
Bracket 2 (if necessary): 7 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2
College World Series finals
Monday, June 24: Game 1, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, June 25: Game 2, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, June 26: Game 3 (if necessary), 7 p.m.