Can the Michigan Wolverines do it again as they matchup against the Texas Tech Red Raiders for in another College World Series bout in Omaha. Michigan has already beaten Texas Tech once and will look to do so again to avoid a win-or-go-home contest. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders are already in that situation. They came out of it with the victory over FSU on Wednesday but are in a must-win situation again. Can they have better luck this time around against the Wolverines or will history repeat itself?
First pitch for the game between Michigan and Texas Tech is scheduled for Friday, June 21, 2019, at 2 p.m. ET at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. The matchup will be shown on ESPN.
You can bet on College World Series odds at BookMaker.eu.
Even after emerging out of the Regionals instead of Oregon State and topping UCLA in a well fought Super Regional showdown, the Wolverines still came into the College World Series as longshots to leave as the national champions, but they continue to exceed expectation.
Michigan has already beat Texas Tech here in Omaha, winning by a final of 5-3 back on Saturday. The Wolverines should thus have plenty of confidence going into this one.
It’s hard to find a team hotter than Michigan right now. They’ve had plenty of difficult tests thrown there way and have more than risen to the occasion.
To make things worse for Texas Tech, the Wolverines comes into this contest with much less pressure. They’ve yet to lose here in Omaha, also beating FSU 2-0 on Monday. However, they’re also dealing with a bit of a lay off from Monday until Friday while Texas Tech took on FSU on Wednesday night to make it to this game.
For Texas Tech, they’ve battled and clawed to get here. They’ll be a bit less rested, but also just had their backs against the wall and will, again, have a must-win contest ahead of them.
The Wolverines should have both Karl Kauffman and Jeff Criswell well rested to pitch in this game after Kauffman gave the team seven innings of three-run ball against Texas Tech to open the College World Series and Criswell finishing the game off with two shutout innings.
Both Kauffman and Criswell also pitched exceptionally well in the three-game Super Regional bout against No.1 UCLA and each bring sub-3 ERAs to the hill.
Kauffman is 11-6 on the season with a 2.66 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 121.2 innings spread over 19 games. He provides plenty of length. He has 104 strikeouts on the season which isn’t exactly a dominating number compared to some other elite college arms, but he gets enough swing and miss while inducing plenty of weak contact and generally avoiding walks.
He keeps hitters off base with a .217 average against. While his ERA is very low, he has allowed 15 unearned runs.
As for Criswell, he’s 7-1 with a 2.68 ERA, but a higher WHIP at 1.32. He struggles a bit more with walks, but his stuff is electric, leading to 103 strikeouts in just 97.1 innings.
Beyond those two, the Wolverines have a very well rested bullpen, having not needed anyone other than those two and Tommy Henry so far here in Omaha. The rest, however, might be too much at this point and rust is a real threat given how easily the team’s top three arms have breezed through the College World Series so far.
Still, arms like Isaiah Paige, Willie Weiss and others provide some extra insurance.
The pitching is clearly and advantage for Michigan over Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have a solid pitching staff and some quality relievers who, unlike the Wolverines, have gotten some work. If they’re the difference makers in the game, Texas Tech is in a good spot, but starting the game is likely Micah Dallas, who lasted just three innings, allowing four runs with three of them earned against the Wolverines on Saturday.
With Caleb Killian and Bryce Bonnin needed to get the Red Raiders here, Erikson Lanning is the only other starter option outside of Dallas.
Dallas is a good pitcher. He’s got a 7-1 record and 3.60 ERA but can struggle at times with command. Texas Tech will give him a short leash before the pen takes over. This pen is strong, particularly Dane Haveman, Taylor Floyd and John McMillon; all of whom bring plenty of swing and miss though Haveman is the only one with solid control. The other two can be a bit walk prone.
It’s the pitching that’s the strength of the Wolverines, but their offense has been good enough to get the wins. They scored two against FSU on Monday and five over the Red Raiders on Saturday.
Those are not huge numbers, but the Wolverines scored early and enough. In both games here in Omaha, Michigan got off to an early lead with a first inning run, the most recent lead—over FSU—came off a solo homer from Jesse Franklin.
Franklin hits in between Jordan Nwogu and Jordan Brewer in the order. It’s the Jordans that are the team’s best bats. They need Nwogu to set the tone and get on base early and then for Franklin, Brewer, or Jimmy Kerr to drive him in.
Overall, the offense is okay. They’ve got a team average of .279 and a solid concept of the strike zone with an OBP 100 points higher. The power is good enough with Franklin, Brewer, Nwogu, and Kerr all hitting a dozen jacks this year, but there’s not someone that they can just sit and wait to hit it out. They need to make things happen.
Texas Tech is the better offensive team than Michigan, even if it didn’t show in their first meeting in Omaha.
The Red Raiders have a .300 average as a team and boast seven starters hitting .302 or better. Every starter has an OBP of at least .373 as well. This team can get on base and has some speed and power at its disposal.
Dylan Neuse and Gabe Holt are solid table setters, both with a .413 OBP or better and a combined 45 stelas in 50 attempts. Meanwhile, Cameron Warren and Josh Jung are far and away the best two hitters in this matchup.
Jung was the eighth overall pick in this year’s MLB draft with a .339/.469/.635 slash line. He has 22 doubles, 15 homers and 57 RBI. Warren’s numbers are even better with a slightly higher OPS thanks to 18 bombs. He’s also batting .353 and has the team lead in RBI with 78.
The team hung a couple eight-spots on Oklahoma State in the Super Regionals. The offense is there, it just has to take the lead against a strong Michigan pitching staff.
With Kauffman and Criswell both available, the Wolverines have some strong pitching lined up for this game. It’s the pitching that’s carried the team to within a win of the College World Series finals and it’s the pitching that should get them to that point on Friday.
Look for Texas Tech to struggle, again, to put runs on the board against the Wolverines. Meanwhile, Michigan hasn’t produced a ton of offense since the Regionals round and aren’t likely to explode for a huge total on Friday. Still, look for an early run to grab the lead. That’s been a calling card for this team in the tournament.
From there, the Wolverines should cruise to a victory. Look for Texas Tech to press as the game goes on and expand the zone, further helping the Michigan arms.
Michigan is rolling. Take them to clinch a trip to the finals in this one, topping Texas Tech at BookMaker.eu.
MLB Odds: Michigan 6, Texas Tech 3
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