Perhaps the biggest surprise of the group of eight heading to Omaha, the Michigan Wolverines will kick off the College World Series in the first game of the legendary tournament against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday afternoon. Michigan knocked off the nation’s top team in UCLA in the Super Regionals and despite coming from a football heavy Big Ten conference, the Wolverines are a scary team to face right even for a team like Texas Tech who are favored in this one.
First pitch for the game between Texas Tech and Michigan is scheduled for Saturday, June 15, 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.
Michigan enters the College World Series hotter than any other team after taking two games against UCLA at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The wins made the Wolverines the only team to win a series against the Bruins all season.
Despite being one of the final teams in the NCAA Tournament, this young team has come together at the right time and are riding a wave of confidence. It’s a young, athletic team with plenty of upside and dangerous pitching.
On the other side of this matchup, Texas Tech is a veteran of Omaha having reached the College World Series in four of the last six seasons. Despite that, they’ve had issues making a mark once they’ve gotten to the final eight.
The Red Raiders had a 3-0 run in the Regionals and then beat a very good Oklahoma State team two games to one in the Super Regionals to get here.
Tommy Henry should get the start for the Wolverines. He’s their top starter though Michigan does have a nice rotation with Karl Kauffmann and Jeff Criswell as well.
Henry, however, was selected in the competitive balance round of the MLB draft ahead of the third round by the Arizona Diamondbacks after a 10-5 season with a 3.54 ERA. The talented southpaw was 6-1 with a 0.76 ERA early in the season and struggled a bit but seems to have turned the corner.
Michigan should get some quality starting pitching. Meanwhile, in relief, Isaiah Paige has a 2.98 ERA in 48.1 innings though he’s not a big strikeout threat like the team’s dominating starters. The closer, Willie Wiess, however, has swing and miss stuff with 50 Ks in 38 frames. He’s also notched nine saves while posting a 3.08 ERA. He does walk a few too many batters, however, something Texas Tech could take advantage of for a late comeback.
Speaking of the Red Raiders, they’re starters haven’t tallied quite as many innings as Michigan’s meaning they could be a bit fresher, but it’s also a sign of Texas Tech’s dominant bullpen.
Micah Dallas leads the Red Raiders’ starting staff with a 3.38 ERA and is 7-0. Meanwhile, Caleb Killian is 8-3 with a 3.93 ERA. Both would provide some quality innings at the front end for Texas Tech, but the bullpen is deeper than at Michigan and the key. Texas Tech simply needs to get enough from the starter to hand the ball to the pen to close the door.
Arms like Clayton Beeter, Taylor Floyd, Dane Haveman, and John McMillon give Tim Tadlock more than enough options to mix and match his way through the end of the game if the team’s able to secure the lead.
Offensively, at least on paper, the Red Raiders would appear to have the advantage. The Texas Tech offense is what helped carry them over Oklahoma State in the Super Regionals.
Cameron Warren and Josh Jung is as good as it gets on the corners of an infield with Warren leading the team in the Triple Crown categories with a .354 average, 17 home runs and 76 RBI. Meanwhile, Jung offers a .342 average with 14 homers and an excellent eye at the plate. He earned co-Big 12 Player of the Year honors and ended up going eighth overall to Texas in this year’s MLB Draft.
While Warren and Jung form a strong middle of the order, Dru Baker, Gabe Holt, Brian Klein, and Dylan Neuse each have an average north of .300 with an OBP above .400. Hold and Neuse also have a combined 45 stolen bases while only being caught five times.
Along with the power of Jung and Warren, the team cumulatively has a strong batting eye and some good speed at the top. Overall, the team has a combined .301 average. Nearly everyone in the starting lineup has a .290 average and .386 OBP, or better.
For Michigan, the team average is about 20-points lower. The Wolverines cannot quite matchup with Warren and Jung to anchor their lineup, but there are four different players on the team with at least 12 home runs so Michigan does still provide some power.
The team was able to score enough against Oregon State and UCLA and Jordan Brewer is a big piece of that. He’s got a team leading .338 average with 12 homers and 55 RBI. Jordan Nwogu, however, leads the team in OPS at 1.022 thanks to a better batting eye and nearly as much pop. Both Brewer and Nwogu also offer an element of speed in their game, though their success rate isn’t quite as high as the Texas Tech speedsters.
In years past, the Red Raiders have won just a single game in the College World Series. They seem better positioned to make a deeper run this year.
As good as Michigan has been to get to this point, the magic must wear off at some point. They’ve toppled two superior teams, don’t look for them to do so against a third, at least not on Saturday.
Count on a solid start followed by some strong pitching in the bullpen to carry Texas Tech while the tandem of Jung and Warren in the middle of the order proves too much to handle for the young Wolverines team in their first College World Series appearance in 35-years.
Take the Red Raiders to win this College World Series opener at BookMaker.eu.
MLB Odds: Texas Tech 7, Michigan 4
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