College World Series 2019: Vanderbilt vs. Michigan Game 2 TV Coverage and Pick

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 25, 2019

Vanderbilt's Kumar Rocker throws to a Duke batter during the eighth inning of an NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game Saturday, June 8, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Rocker threw a no-hitter in Vanderbilt's 3-0 victory. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Wade Payne/Associated Press

The Michigan Wolverines are one win away from their first NCAA baseball championship since 1962 and the first for the Big Ten since 1966. 

Michigan took Game 1 of the College World Series from Vanderbilt Monday behind another tremendous pitching performance from Tommy Henry and home runs from Jimmy Kerr and Joe Donovan. 

Vanderbilt has experience rallying back from a one-game deficit in a best-of-three series this postseason, as it conquered Duke in the super regional round after giving up 18 runs. 

Just like they did in the super regional, the Commodores will turn to freshman Kumar Rocker to turn around the series and force a Game 3. 


Vanderbilt vs. Michigan Game 2 Information

Start Time: 7 p.m. ET 


Live Stream: Watch ESPN or ESPN app 



Vanderbilt 5, Michigan 2

Vanderbilt sits in a less-than-ideal position going into Tuesday. but this is a squad that will not panic about being a game down to Michigan. 

The last time the Commodores faced elimination, they bounced back from an 18-5 loss to Duke behind a Kumar Rocker no-hitter in the super regional round. 

Wade Payne/Associated Press

Since April 9, the Commodores are 3-0 in games following a defeat, with one of them coming in April and the other in May at the end of a series with Missouri. 

Rocker, a freshman, is 11-5 with 108 strikeouts and a 3.38 ERA. Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin has plenty of belief in the right-handed hurler going into Game 2, per The Tennessean's Adam Sparks

"He was a freshman in September, (but) you know, he's pitched a lot of baseball games," Corbin said. "I think age is really not going to be the factor right now. I think the biggest part of him is he's been on the mound before and he's got confidence in himself." 

In his last start, Rocker gave up one earned run over six innings in a 6-3 victory over Mississippi State. That victory occurred Wednesday, so the freshman will be throwing on full rest. 

Michigan's pitching strategy is more difficult to figure out since Jeff Criswell threw nine pitches to finish off the Game 1 victory. 

John Peterson/Associated Press

Criswell is the likely Game 2 starter with Karl Kauffmann waiting in the wings for Game 3, but Michigan head coach Erik Bakich would not confirm his plans Monday night, per Angelique Chengelis of The Detroit News. 

"He could, yeah," Bakich said. "I've got to talk to the coaches. He threw nine pitches (Monday), so that's what he did against UCLA (in the Super Regional). He pitched an inning and started the next day, so he's certainly capable. We could go Criswell or we could do a committee type of thing." 

No matter which pitcher is on the mound for Michigan, he will expect to be backed up by a strong set of bats that produced seven runs on 14 hits in Game 1. 

While Michigan is in a terrific run of form at the plate, it could be silenced by Rocker, who has kept some of the best hitters in the nation off balance during his tremendous freshman campaign. 

The key for Rocker is to silence the middle of the Michigan order, headlined by Kerr, Jordan Brewer and Blake Nelson, who combined for five hits Monday. 

If Rocker is able to slow down the heart of the Wolverines order, Vanderbilt will be in much better shape. 

Even though Vanderbilt came out on the wrong end of the final score Monday, its bats were still productive, as seven of the nine starters in the order recorded a hit. 

The key in Game 2 for the Commodores is to string more hits together in a single inning, and that starts with Austin Martin and J.J. Bleday at the top. 

If Vanderbilt is able to connect for a few hits in the opening three innings, it should be able to put pressure on the Michigan staff and give Rocker enough of a cushion to work with as he attempts to shut down the Wolverines. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from D1Baseball.com and NCAA.com.