Michigan had a lot to celebrate in today's 5-3 win over Texas Tech, first and foremost being Jimmy Kerr (15), whose two-run triple was the big hit.
2019 College World Series: Day One In Pictures College World Series
Want to get in-depth coverage? Subscribe to D1Baseball
OMAHA, Neb. — Well here we go.
We kicked off day one of the College World Series and also game one of Mike Martin’s last pony ride in the Mecca of College Baseball.
And, unlike last year’s first day of play, this one was a much more enjoyable experience. Last year, opening day saw temps that were hitting a 110º heat index that went along with a four-hour, 24-minute game between Oregon State and North Carolina. Miserable. And to be honest, halfway through the game about half the crowd had packed it in and gone home.
Today? Much much better. The temperature crested at 86º but the relative humidity that started the day at 75% had calmed down to a manageable 35% by the time the midpoint of the night game had come around.
As for the action itself, two intriguing games that saw three-seeds come out on top. Michigan won its first CWS game in 35 years with a 5-3 escape of Texas Tech and FSU handed Arkansas a gut-wrenching 1-0 loss to put the Hogs behind the eight-ball.
In the nightcap, it seemed like it would just come down to whoever blinked first. A pair of stellar pitching performances dominated the first eight innings.
The biggest key to FSU’s victory was JC Flowers getting plunked by reliever Cody Scroggins to start the ninth inning. That opened things up for the Seminoles. Flowers would come around to score thanks to a fly ball to Heston Kjerstad in right field. Luckily for the Noles, Flowers was the base-runner and he sprinted home with the winning run as Kjerstad’s throw was wild.
“Blow, blow Seminole wind, blow like your’e never gonna blow again.” J.C. Flowers and his Seminole teammates move on in the College World Series.
It was also one of those unique situations where the player that scored the game-winning run also closed things down in the ninth inning on the hill as Flowers got the Seminoles to go 1-2-3 without drama.
This was great theater. But as Mike Martin said afterward, “This field is so strong, nobody has an upper hand on anyone. And we haven’t accomplished anything yet.”
But bully for the three-seeds. As you might recall, Michigan and Florida State both came into the NCAA Tournament as two of the “last five in” for the NCAA Tournament, yet here they are 1-0 after day one. That’s strong work.
Some additional images from today’s games.
Michigan head coach Erik Bakich was primed for today’s opener at TD Ameritrade Park. Michigan actually had a built in advantage in this first game vs. Texas Tech, having already played a series of games at the CWS home a couple of weeks ago in the Big 10 Tournament .
Michigan players are amused watching the pregame video of themselves which included a highlight reel of how they beat UCLA in the Super Regionals.
Jordan Nwogu celebrates his first inning single. Yes, there are celebrations for singles now, apparently.
… a few minutes later, Nwogu slides in safely to give Michigan a first inning lead it would never give up to the Red Raiders.
Karl Kauffmann gave up three runs and eight hits in seven innings, but seemed to pitch way better than his numbers suggested. This was his third straight quality outing in this postseason for the Fighting Schembechlers.
While Wolverine outfielder Jordan Brewer (22) gives out a primal scream, Jimmy Kerr can be seen sliding into third on his two-run triple that was the statement play of the day.
Tech’s Brian Klein hit just his second home run of the season (a two-run shot) to keep the Raiders in the game.
Later in the game Klein would feel the pain of making the final out of the game on a strikeout looking. Arrrrrgh!
The Florida State Seminoles were beside themselves after pulling off the win over SEC-heavy Arkansas.
There were times when Mike Martin just wished he was already retired and done with the rash execution of youth.
Drew Parrish gave another exemplary effort, going 8.0 innings, giving up just five hits and zero runs while striking out nine, including the final two batters he faced in the eighth inning.
J.C. Flowers really was a jack-of-all-trades in today’s second game, including making this gutsy catch at the wall of Heston Kjerstad’s powershot. Love the reaction of the fans in the front row.
The ninth inning rally was keyed by this leadoff plunking that J.C. Flowers sustained… but for good cause.
… then all Flowers did was go out to the mound and toss a perfect three-up, three-down ninth inning to preserve the win he earned for the Seminoles.
The sun shone brightly on the Big Hog too. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how well Razorback starter Isaiah Campbell pitched as well, earning 10Ks in 7.0 innings, while also relenting no runs on five hits.