Rapid Recap: Michigan beats Texas Tech in CWS opener
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OMAHA, Neb. — Michigan’s Cinderella run will continue in the winner’s bracket at the College World Series.
The Wolverines jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and hung on for a 5-3 victory over Texas Tech, never trailing in their first game at the event since 1984.
Now they await the winner of Saturday night’s Arkansas-Florida State game, which they’ll play at 6 p.m. Monday. That game will follow the Red Raiders’ elimination game against the Arkansas-Florida State loser at 1 p.m.
The scoring started early, with Michigan manufacturing a run in the first. Jordan Nwogu led off the game with a single, moved to second on a passed ball, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on Jordan Brewer’s sacrifice fly.
Michigan put together a two-out rally in the third inning after a double play erased its leadoff base runner, highlighted by Jimmy Kerr’s two-run triple. He eventually scored, too, as Blake Nelson knocked him in with a single to make it 4-0.
Texas Tech didn’t go away quietly, though, answering immediately by cutting the deficit in half with a two-run home run by Brian Klein. It was just his second long ball of the season.
Missed opportunities in the next two innings, when they came up empty despite putting runners on first and second with one out, loomed large for the Wolverines in the sixth.
Josh Jung reached on an infield single, becoming the Red Raiders’ first leadoff man to get on base, and Cameron Warren followed with a double. That put the tying runs in scoring position with no outs, but Karl Kauffmann got back-to-back ground outs - one of which was an RBI for Dru Baker - and then struck out Kurt Wilson to keep it 4-3.
Stranding the tying run 90 feet away was costly for Texas Tech, as it managed to get just one more runner in scoring position over the final three innings.
A leadoff walk by Jesse Franklin turned into an insurance run for the Wolverines in the seventh, but they needed some help after home plate umpire Perry Costello called Jordan Brewer out on a batter’s interference that also wiped out a stolen base.
They got that help in the form of a throwing error by Jung. Instead of being the third out, it allowed Franklin to score from second, where he had moved on a wild pitch.
Kauffmann went seven innings for Michigan, scattering eight hits and allowing three earned runs. He had only three strikeouts, but walked none while improving to 11-6 on the season.
Just as they did in Game 1 of the Los Angeles Super Regional against No. 1 UCLA, the Wolverines used No. 2 starter Jeff Criswell to close it out. He needed 37 pitches to secure the two-inning save, his second in as many weeks.
Criswell ran into some trouble in the ninth, giving up a two-out single and walk, but stranded the tying runs on base by striking out Klein to clinch the win.