The CWS National Championship Series, preview

No.2 Vanderbilt vs Unranked Michigan

Records, VU (57-11), Michigan (49-20)

Vanderbilt defeated Lousiville 3-0, Miss. State 6-3, and Louisville 3-2 to get here

Michigan defeated Texas Tech 5-3, Florida State 2-0, and Texas Tech 15-3 to get here.

Coaches:

Vanderbilt: Tim Corbin 57 years old, born in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. 733-352-1 overall (67%), in 17 seasons. 4 SEC regular season championships (2007, 2011, 2013, 2019), 2 SEC Tournament titles (2007, 2019), 4 CWS appearances. 2014 National Championship.

Michigan Erik Bakich, 41 years old, born in San Jose, California. Played at San Jose CC and East Carolina (1997-2000). 10 seasons as head coach, 3 at Maryland, 7 at Michigan. Record 258-160. 101-64 Big Ten.

Games 1, 2, and 3 (if necessary) 6 PM CT on ESPN. Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and Kyle Peterson on the call. Kris Budden on the field.

Starting pitchers tonight:

VU, Junior RHP Drake Fellows (13-1, 3.97, 111 innings, 43 walks, 126 strikeouts, 9 home runs given up, opponents average .245)

MU: Junior L:HP Tommy Henry (11-5, 3.27 ERA, 115.2 innings pitched, 25 walks, 127 strikeouts, 11 home runs, opponents average .221).

Tuesday Night for us:

Freshman RHP Kumar Rocker (11-5, 3.38 ERA, 93.1 innings, 19 walks, 103 K’s, 2 home runs, batting average, .240).

Possible MU starter, Sophomore RHP Jeff Criswell (7-1, 2.60, 100.1 innings, 47 walks, 105 strikeouts, 6 homers, .220)

Probable for us Wednesday (If necessary)

Sophomore RHP Mason Hickman (8-0, 2.08, 90.2 innings, 25 walks, 119 K’s, 7 homers, .183 average against).

Michigan to be determined

Leading hitters for VU

3B Austin Martin, .406, 10 homers, 45 RBIs, 19 doubles, 4 triples, .629 slugging %, 18-of-23 stolen bases.

RF JJ Bleday, .354, 26 homers, 70 RBIs, 14 doubles, 1 triple, .711 slugging %. MIke Trout has a .680 slugging percentage and he’s the best player in baseball.

LF Stephen Scott, .331, 14 homers, 59 RBIs, 20, doubles, 1 triple, .595 slugging %

SS Ethan Paul, .316, 9 homers, 72 RBIs, 23 doubles, 1 triple, ..506 slugging %, 11 of 13 SBs


Michigan

RF Jordan Brewer .329 12 homers, 57 RBIs, 19 doubles, .564 slugging %, 25 of 29 SBs.

DH Jordan Nwogu, .326, 12 homers, 46 RBIs, 14 doubles, 4 triples, .569 slugging, 16 of 18 SBs.

1B Jimmy Kerr, .278 14 homers, 62 RBIs, 15 doubles, .510 slugging.

Closers

VU RHP, Tyler Brown, 3-1, 2.31 ERA, 17 saves, 111 innings pitched, 8 walks, 63 K’s. 1 home run, ..198 average against.

Michigan: Willie Weiss, 2-2, 3.08, 9 saves though he hasn’t been used in CWS.

VU ERA team, 3.74, Michigan 3.40

Team batting averages, VU .314, Michigan .281

Fielding, VU, .981, MU, 974

We have the advantage in hitting, fielding and starting pitching, we have a slight edge though the guy tonight, Tommy Henry, is outstanding, so we’ll need to work the count and really bare down at the plate and knock in runners in scoring position. Our Achilles Heel has been our middle relief. Zach King, Hugh Fisher, Patrick Raby and A.J. Franklin all need to get better. Jake Eder had a rough 7th against Louisville, but pitched well in the 8th. I kind of trust him. I do trust Ethan Smith, and I’d like to see us give Jackson Gillis and Chance Huff a shot. The first 4 I mentioned scare me due to their control problems. I’d like us, if we need to, to use these latter 4 pitchers in middle relief when necessary, Eder, Smith, Gillis and Huff.

Going to be a phenomenal series with 2 storied universities and 2 outstanding baseball programs led by superstar coaches. If we can get to Tyler Brown with a lead late, I feel pretty good about our chances both tonight, tomorrow night and, if necessary, Wednesday Night. Let’s get this one tonight and take it from there.