Michigan Baseball hammers its way to national championship series

Michigan baseball has dominated the postseason with pitching, but on Friday, the Wolverines hit their way into the championship of the College World Series.

Needing one more win to reach the College World Series finals, Michigan baseball emphatically punched its ticket with a dominating 15-3 win over Texas Tech Friday.

While the Wolverines have won a lot of games with pitching and got another solid effort from starter Karl Kauffmann, Michigan baseball won Friday thanks to the offense, which racked up 15 runs on 14 hits.

It seemed like just about everyone was hitting the ball in Omaha Friday, however, no one was as hot as cleanup hitter Jimmy Kerr.

Kerr opened the game with an RBI double that helped Michigan grab a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. But UM was far from finished and the same was true for Kerr.

Texas Tech scored three runs in the top of the second, giving it a 3-2 lead. The Red Raiders even had runners on second and third with one out, giving them a chance to possibly take a three-run lead. Yet, Kauffmann, who beat them last Saturday, got out of the jam, then proceeded to blank Tech in the next four innings.

When Kauffmann’s day was done, he went six full innings and allowed just three runs on six hits. He also struck out two before being taken out. If needed, Kauffmann could have pitched longer but after UM plated five runs in the bottom of the sixth, the lead was 12-3 and head coach Erik Bakich went to the bullpen.

Even though insurance runs weren’t needed, Kerr helped add a couple in the seventh and eighth innings with a pair of solo home runs. He started the five-run fifth with a crafty bunt that eventually allowed him to score. That “base” hit, along with a double and two homers left him a triple short of the cycle. He wound up 4-of-6 with four runs scored and three RBIs.

Kerr’s home runs proved to be the final dagger for Texas Tech, which just got overwhelmed by a Michigan team that hadn’t played since Monday. With a fresh squad, Michigan ran the Red Raiders starting pitcher after the first inning and forced Tech to use a total of seven pitchers in the 15-3 defeat.

Jesse Franklin also had a big day at the plate with three hits and four RBIs, while Ako Thomas also had a hit, three walks, two runs and two RBIs in addition to a number of big plays defensively.

Following the 15-3 win, Michigan is now 3-0 in the College World Series and will play the winner of Louisville and Vanderbilt starting Monday in a best-of-three series for the national championship. Jeff Criswell finished out the game with three shutout innings.

Ace Tommy Henry will likely get the start for Michigan baseball. UM will be looking for its third national championship and first since 1962.