Neither the Michigan Wolverines nor the Vanderbilt Commodores have faced a loss yet in this College World Series, blowing through the competition, but something must give on Monday when these two teams kick off a three-game series to determine the national champions. We will see if either team can continue through this College World Series undefeated, both bringing plenty of momentum to their head-to-head battle.
First pitch for the final series between Michigan and Vanderbilt is slated to begin on Monday, June 24, 2019, at 7 p.m. ET at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha with the next two games, if necessary, on Tuesday and Wednesday. Each game of this series will be shown on ESPN.
You can bet on College World Series odds at BookMaker.eu.
Vanderbilt is the favorite and was the top ranked team heading to Omaha, but the overall No.1 team in the nation, UCLA, was knocked off in the Super Regionals by Michigan. Can the Wolverines do it again?
Michigan’s been red hot. They blew through Texas Tech 15-3 to clinch a trip to the Finals and held the opposition to just six runs over three games in Omaha. Vanderbilt’s win on Friday was much closer, edging out Louisville, 3-2. They allowed six runs against the opponents in three games during the College World Series, too.
Both teams breezed through the competition, even going back to the Regionals and Super Regionals rounds.
For the Wolverines, they came out of the Regionals of reigning champions, Oregon State, and then handled their business against UCLA thanks to outstanding pitching.
The Commodores, meanwhile, did get a test against Duke in the Super Regionals, losing the opener, 5-18, but came back from the blowout in a big way.
The Wolverines’ strength is on the mound and primarily in the starting rotation. The team goes three-deep in excellent starters with Tommy Henry, Karl Kauffman, and Jeff Criswell.
Kauffman kicked off the College World Series for the Wolverines with seven innings of three-run ball against Texas Tech, recording the win while Criswell pitched the final two innings, allowing just one hit and holding the Red Raiders scoreless.
Tommy Henry then followed that up with a complete-game shutout over Florida State with 10 strikeouts, three hits and no walks. And, in the clincher against Texas Tech, Kauffman came back with another quality start and Criswell, notched another save.
On the season, Criswell had the best ERA of the three starters at 2.60, though he was a bit walk-prone, but ended up 7-1 with a 1.29 WHIP in 100.1 innings. Kauffman, meanwhile, was 12-6 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.08 WHIP while Henry had a 3.27 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, both eclipsing 100 innings as well.
In the pen, Michigan does have Isaiah Paige and Willie Weiss as effective options, along with a few others, but none have gotten a chance in Omaha. Overall, this team has a 3.40 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.
Purely by the numbers, it would seem Michigan has the edge on the mound. Vanderbilt has a 3.83 ERA as a team although competition plays a factor.
Mason Hickman, Patrick Raby, Kumar Rocker, and Drake Fellows are all excellent starting options. The latter has the highest ERA at 4.15 but has 104 innings and 120 strikeouts. He has great swing-and-miss stuff if he’s able to command it.
Overall, the four-some combined to go 40-7 on the year with Hickman and Raby boasting sub-3 ERAs and Rocker, arguably, the best of the bunch. After all, he threw a no-hitter against Duke in the Super Regionals, walking just two batters and striking out 19 a day after the Blue Devils scored 18 runs.
Here in Omaha, Rocker threw six innings of one-run ball against Mississippi State, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out six.
Drake Fellows and Mason Hickman had the other two starts with Patrick Raby pitching in relief. Fellows threw seven innings of one-run ball against Louisville while Hickman held the Cardinals scoreless in a two-hit, six-inning performance prior to that.
Out of the pen, Tyler Brown has appeared in all three games in Omaha. The closer has great stuff and 58 strikeouts in 41.2 innings. He has a 2.59 ERA and 14 saves.
Vanderbilt has the best offense despite the 15-run onslaught by Michigan on Friday.
The Commodores have J.J. Bleday as the lynchpin in the order. The slugging outfielder was a top-5 draft pick for a reason. He’s got a .350/.464/.717 slash line with 26 homers. He’s a threat to go deep—or at least do damage—each time he steps in the box.
As good as Bleday is, the thing that makes Vanderbilt most dangerous is the depth in the lineup. Austin Martin is an on-base machine atop the order with an OBP over .500. He also offers speed to cause a distraction on the bases.
After him, there’s Bleday then a cast of .300 hitters and power options. The team has five regulars hitting over .300—including Martin’s .410 mark—and all nine starters posting an OBP of at least .244. There’s no easy out in this order. On top of that, Julian Infante, Stephen Scott, and Ethan Paul, amongst others, all offer power both in homers and doubles.
The lineup has .318 average and has hit 93 homers. By comparison, the Michigan offense has a .283 average and 72 long balls.
There is some speed and power, but the contact isn’t as good as Vanderbilt though Jordan Brewer and Jordan Nwogu are hitting .329 and .326 respectively, each with a dozen homers.
In the big win over Texas Tech on Friday, this team was clicking on all cylinders with 15 runs on 14 hits and 12 walks. The team showed an excellent batting eye and patience. Jimmy Kerr was 4-for-6 while Jesse Franklin, Blake Nelson, and Jack Blomgren all had multi-hit games as well.
It’s hard to underestimate the Vanderbilt offense, but Michigan is rolling and their starters have been lights out.
The Wolverines have already proved themselves in a three-game series against UCLA, coming away with the win.
If the Commodores can get into the bullpen, they’ll have a chance as the arms there could be rusty, but the offense has been playing beyond the numbers since the start of the tournament and the Wolverines have surprised every step of the way. This is a team that has the momentum and the confidence right now to do what, just a few weeks ago, seemed impossible.
Vanderbilt may have been the favorites all along, but Michigan is showing something in this tournament and in a three-game series, it’s not always the best team on paper, but the team that’s playing the best right now. Take Michigan over Vanderbilt in this series at BookMaker.eu.
MLB Odds: Michigan in three
Load your betting bankroll from your smartphone with BookMaker’s new cashier feature! Depositing and withdrawing funds from your account has never been easier. BookMaker's live betting platform means you always have access to odds and lines to every sporting event. Click here and start wagering today!