Louisville started one of, if not their best starting pitcher against the Wolverines. Jared Poland toed the rubber. Although he has a 5-5 record, he sports a 3.43 ERA through his 78.2 innings of work, with 96 strikeouts and only 28 walks.
Michigan’s starter, Walker Cleveland, has started in only a third of his appearances on the year, and his maximum innings pitched in one outing this year is 4.1. Further, it seemed like Michigan intended on throwing several arms out of the bullpen in this game.
Louisville started the scoring in the second, as they scraped one run across with an RBI groundout off the bat of Ben Bianco.
In back to back at bats in the bottom of the third, Clark Elliott and Joe Stewart continued their rampage on opposing pitching staffs as they hit back to back home runs. Elliott hit a two-run shot to right field, driving in Jake Marti. Joe Stewart hit a towering home run to center field immediately after, bringing the score to 3-1.
In the fourth, Louisville’s shortstop and leadoff hitter, Christian Knapcyzk singled through the right side, scoring Logan Beard.
Michigan turned right back around and plated two more in the bottom half of the inning, as Joey Velasquez extended his hot streak and drove in Riley Bertram. Velasquez scored later in the inning as Jake Marti sacrifice bunted him in from third.
Michigan kept the pressure on in the fifth. Jimmy Obertop hit a sacrifice fly in foul territory to right field to drive in a run. Then, Bertram singled through the left side to score Matt Frey.
Michigan wouldn’t look back. Louisville scored one additional run on a wild pitch to bring the score to 7-3 in the seventh, but just like usual, Chase Allen and Cameron Weston slammed the door shut to end the game.
No Michigan pitcher threw more than 2.2 innings in the contest, as Cleveland’s start only lasted 1.1 innings, followed by Noah Rennard, Jacob Denner, Chase Allen and Cameron Weston.
The Wolverines advance to the regional final, where they will have to lose two games to be eliminated before they beat the winner of Oregon vs. Louisville one time. One win for the Wolverines will send them to a Super Regional, and one step away from returning to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
Oregon and Louisville will play at noon tomorrow, June 5, to decide who will go on to face Michigan. Michigan will play the winner at 4 p.m., airing on ESPN2 and the ESPN app.