Michigan opened up in Omaha with a 5-3 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Jordan Nwogu got things going early. After a single to left and a stolen base, Michigan played a little small ball in getting him home. A one-out sacrifice fly from Jordan Brewer would do the deed and Karl Kauffman got through a drama-free first. Michigan 1-0
Despite an Nwogu double-play with Ako Thomas on first, the Wolverines extended their lead in the third. Joe Donovan fought for a walk and Jordan Brewer followed that up with a single. Jimmy Kerr, channeling his family’s CWS energy tripled to bring them both in. Blake Nelson’s single continued the rally scoring Kerr. The Red Raiders finally struck back in the bottom of the frame. The Wolverines got the lead-off guy out, but Texas Tech answered with a single and two-run homer from the top of the order. Michigan 4-2
Both teams threatened in the fifth but were unable to score. The Red Raiders in particular had a wonderful opportunity with only one out and a man on second as the top of the order came up. Ako Thomas made the defensive play of the game for Michigan as he dove up the middle to snag a low line drive up the middle, holding Texas Tech’s runner on second. Kauffman would escape with a harmless fly ball to center.
Texas Tech had a quick start in the sixth, ending up with runners on second and third with no one out. Kauffman fielded a soft grounder on his own to get the first out, but a second grounder up the middle got past him scoring the run. Fortunately for Michigan, Thomas was playing behind second on a shift and was able to get the second out at first. The Red Raiders struck out to end the threat. Michigan 4-3.
Some shaky defense from Texas Tech gave Michigan their two-run lead back. With two outs and Jesse Franklin on second, Nelson’s grounder was misplayed by the Red Raiders’ shortstop. A questionable catcher’s interference call on Jordan Brewer may have prevented a second run scoring there. Kauffman got through the seventh despite a lead-off single. Michigan 5-3
Jeff Criswell replaced Kauffman in the eighth and was able to methodically work his way through the heart of the Red Raiders’ batting order. In the bottom of the ninth, Criswell showed off his glove and his arsenal of pitches, earning a stressful save and getting Michigan into the next round of the winner’s bracket where they will face off against the winner of Florida State and Arkansas later tonight.