A champion will soon be crowned in the world of college baseball. After a lengthy and exciting couple of weeks, the College World Series is down to just two teams. One of them being from your favorite conference.
The Vanderbilt Commodores and Michigan Wolverines are the two teams left standing. One was certainly expected to be here, while the other is on a wild and rather magical run. Omaha will play host to this Best of 3 series to determine who hoists up the trophy. And, y’know, who will be doing the dog-piling too.
Vanderbilt got here with relative ease. The Commodores sawed their way through the Nashville Regional, not recording a single loss against Ohio State, Indiana State and then the Sycamores for a second time en route to the Supers. There, they ran into some trouble, losing 18-5 in Game 1 to Duke. But the Blue Devils were shut down by Kumar Rocker in Game 2 in an historic performance, which gave way to a 13-2 rout by the Dores in the do-or-die Game 3.
Things went pretty swimmingly for Vandy in Omaha thereafter. The Commodores defeated Louisville and Mississippi State to make it to the final round. There, they once again dispatched the Cardinals and earned their ticket in to the CWS Final. So if you’re keeping score at home, Vanderbilt has lost just one game on the road to Monday’s Game 1.
For Michigan, meanwhile, this journey’s been anything but easy. They took down to Creighton and Cincinnati in their first two games in the Corvallis Regional. With Oregon State out of the way thanks to the efforts of Cincy and Creighton, the door was swung wide open for any of those three teams to make it through to the Supers. The Wolverines obliged, but not after falling to the Bluejays in the first of two games between the squads. Michigan however pulverized CU 17-6 in the final deciding game, and it was on to LA afterwards.
There, Michigan was tasked with taking on UCLA. The Bruins were not only hosting a Super Regional, but they were also the overall No. 1 seed in the entire NCAA Tournament. So it was an unenviable task for the Wolverines to say the least. But they didn’t waver. They won 3-2 in Game 1 and after falling 5-4 in Game 2, they had to churn up an effort to get to Omaha for the first time in many moons. And they did exactly that, winning 4-2 over the Bruins to go to the College World Series for the first time since 1984, when the likes of Barry Larkin was playing for the maize and blue.
Michigan got to Omaha, and decided that they weren’t content with just being there. No, they went on to paste through Bracket 1. They defeated Texas Tech 5-3 in their first game. Then, they edged out Florida State 2-0 thanks to a CGSHO by hurler Tommy Henry. They put the cap on their run to the CWS Final with a 15-3 bulldozing of the Red Raiders, becoming the first Big Ten team to make it this far since Ohio State in 1966.
Needless to say, this should be a fascinating series if both teams bring their best. If the last few weeks are any indication, that’s exactly how it’s gonna go.
TIMES, TV SCHEDULE
(All times Eastern; all games available via WatchESPN)
Game 1: 6/24, 7 p.m., ESPN
Game 2: 6/25, 7 p.m., ESPN
Game 3 (if nec.): 6/26, 7 p.m., ESPN