OMAHA, Neb. — As Michigan relished its 5-3 win over Texas Tech, Arkansas and Florida State squared off Saturday evening in Omaha. The Wolverines watched with bated breath as they waited to learn who they would face Monday on the road to the championship series.
The Seminoles and Razorbacks were scoreless through eight innings until Florida State finally broke through in the top of the ninth. With J.C Flowers standing on third, FSU’s Nander De Sedas hit a flyout to right that was deep enough to score Flowers. Flowers then retook the mound in the top of the ninth to secure the save opportunity and the win.
Florida State, like Michigan, was one of the last four teams in the tournament. The two will now face off in a matchup of tournament cinderella’s with the winner heading to the quarterfinal on Friday. The loser will play an elimination game on Wednesday.
The Seminoles are on an emotional final ride with long time coach Mike Martin, who will retire after 40 seasons coaching the Seminoles when their season comes to an end. FSU is in the College World Series for the 17th time under Martin and hope to send out the winningest coach in program history with his first College World Series title after three national runner up finishes.
The Wolverines are likely to face FSU pitcher CJ Van Eyk, who went 10-3 this year over 17 starts. His ERA is 3.80 with 120 strikeouts and 39 walks spread over 94.2 innings of work.
For Michigan coach Erik Bakich, he needs to decide who will toe the rubber on Monday for the Wolverines. It could be Jeff Criswell, who tossed 37 pitches in relief of Karl Kauffmann on Saturday over two innings. It also could be Tommy Henry, who beat in the Super Regionals last Monday while still recovering from pneumonia.
Much like Texas Tech, the Seminoles bring their own set of unique challenges for Michigan. If the Wolverines can follow the blueprint that has worked for them of providing early run support for their starter then letting pitching control the game as it wears on, they have a shot to keep on moving closer and closer to the national championship series.
Michigan and Florida State will square off Monday night at 7 PM ET in Omaha. The game can be seen on ESPN.