The Michigan Wolverines and Florida State Seminoles have passed their first tests in the College World Series and will meet Monday for the right to move on to the tournament's semifinal round.
Texas Tech and Arkansas, both losers during their first CWS game, will also meet Monday in a game that will end the college baseball season for the team that falls short in that matchup.
College World Series
Monday, June 17, schedule
Game 5: Texas Tech vs. Arkansas, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 6: Michigan vs. Florida State, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Michigan won its CWS opener behind the strong pitching of Karl Kauffmann, who pitched seven innings against Texas Tech and was backed by a great defensive effort from the Wolverines in their 5-3 triumph.
Kauffmann has pitched four straight games in which he has thrown seven innings, and while he gave up a two-run home run to the Red Raiders' Brian Klein, he gave up only one other earned run. Kauffmann is not an overpowering pitcher, as he had just three strikeouts, but he did not issue a single walk.
"We're playing for something bigger than ourselves—the University of Michigan, our fans, and each other," catcher Joe Donovan said, per Dan Hoppen for the Detroit News. "We're just a hot team right now.
"We played very well and we executed."
As good as Kauffmann was for Michigan, pitcher Drew Parrish of Florida State was even better in his eight-inning stint against Arkansas.
Parrish and Arkansas star pitcher Isaiah Campbell hooked up in a pitchers' duel, and the two matched scoreless innings until J.C. Flowers scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Nander De Sedas in the ninth inning, giving the Seminoles a 1-0 win.
The Seminoles could not break through against Campbell, who struck out 10 batters and allowed just five singles in seven innings. Florida State scored the winning run off reliever Cody Scroggins.
Michigan vs. Florida State
Michigan was victorious in its first CWS game since in 1984, and the Wolverines will try to keep the momentum going against the Seminoles.
Head coach Erik Bakich, recently named the NCAA Coach of the Year, will depend on first baseman Jimmy Kerr and outfielder Jordan Brewer for Michigan's production. Kerr belted 12 home runs and recorded 58 RBI, while Brewer also smacked 12 homers and knocked in 56 runs.
Florida State will try to get the win for retiring head coach Mike Martin, who is completing his 40th season with the Seminoles.
Third baseman Drew Mendoza has had a solid year for Florida State with 16 home runs and 56 RBI, while shortstop Mike Salvatore is hitting .337 with 51 RBI.
Prediction: Michigan 3, Florida State 2—The Wolverines find a way to get the job done as Kerr and Brewer lead the offensive attack.
Texas Tech vs. Arkansas
The Razorbacks could have a big issue since they lost the opening game of the tournament with their ace Campbell on the mound.
Arkansas will try to bounce back from that defeat, and the team will need to find a way to get the offense going. Shortstop Casey Martin has belted 15 long balls and driven in 56 runs this season, while Heston Kjerstad has hit 16 home runs and knocked in 50 runs.
Texas Tech will depend on first baseman Cameron Warren, who has hammered 17 home runs and knocked in 76 runs. He should get some assistance from shortstop Josh Jung, who is hitting .341 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI.
Prediction: Texas Tech 4, Arkansas 1—The Seminoles will deliver just enough offense to eliminate the Razorbacks from the CWS.