College World Series 2019: Latest Championship Predictions and ScheduleJune 21, 2019
The finish line is in sight for the College World Series, and Vanderbilt has an excellent chance of joining Michigan in college baseball's national championship series.
The Commodores have been the best team in the sport for the majority of the season, and they will advance to the title round if they beat Louisville Friday night.
If they lose that game, the two teams will play Saturday as a result of the double-elimination format of the CWS, and the winner of that game will play in the championship round.
The Wolverines landed in the CWS championship series after trouncing Texas Tech 15-3 Friday afternoon. Michigan has won all three of CWS games to this point.
College World Series schedule
Friday, June 21
Game 11: Michigan 15, Texas Tech 3
Game 12: Vanderbilt vs. Louisville, 7 p.m., ESPN
Saturday, June 22
Vanderbilt vs. Louisville (if necessary): 7 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2
TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, Nebraska
June 24-26 on ESPN
Monday, June 24
Game 1, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, June 25
Game 2, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, June 26
Game 3, if necessary, 7 p.m.
Glance at Michigan
Michigan (49-20) has a pair of sluggers in Jordan Brewer and Jordan Nwogu. Both players have excellent old-school stat lines, as Brewer is hitting .336 with 12 home runs and 56 RBI and Nwogu is contributing a .328 batting average with 12 blasts and 43 RBI.
The Michigan pitching staff is led by Karl Kauffmann, Tommy Henry and Jeff Criswell. Kauffman has already picked up two wins in Omaha, and he has demonstrated a strong arm and solid control.
The Wolverines are playing their best baseball of the year in the College World Series. They went 2-0 against Texas Tech, a team that swept them in a three-game series earlier this year.
Vanderbilt vs. Louisville
Give the Cardinals (50-17) credit for their 4-3 victory over Mississippi State in an elimination game, but taking on the top-seeded Commodores (56-11) is a much tougher assignment.
Vanderbilt has three sluggers in the middle of its lineup in Austin Martin, JJ Bleday and Stephen Scott. Martin is a magnificent all-around offensive force with a .409 average, 10 homers and 45 RBI along with 18 stolen bases. Bleday has hammered 26 home runs and knocked in 70 runs, while Scott is hitting .335 with 14 homers and 59 RBI.
The Commodores have a deep pitching staff that includes Drake Fellows, Kumar Rocker, Patrick Raby and Mason Hickman, and they are capable of shutting down opposing offenses.
The Cardinals can't come close to matching Vanderbilt in terms of power. Alex Binelas has hit 14 home runs and driven in 59 runs, and he is the only Louisville hitter who has hit 10 or more home runs. Shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald is also a key factor in the lineup with a .322 batting average to go along with eight home runs and 65 RBI.
Michigan got the best of Texas Tech in the semifinal round, and Vanderbilt will overpower Louisville.
The CWS championship round is a best of three series that gets underway Monday. Michigan will have to improve its level of play if it is going to win a game in the series and extend Vanderbilt, let alone win the series.
Brewer and Nwogu are good hitters who can carry the offense, but they can't match Martin, Bleday and Scott.
Kauffmann is a solid starter for Michigan, and Henry is coming off a three-hitter in his last outing against Florida State. The pitching looks good, but Vanderbilt has the advantage in that area with Fellows and Rocker at the top of the rotation.
Vanderbilt wins the College World Series, and it would be a shock if it took more than two games.