The College World Series championship round began Monday night, with the Michigan Wolverines knocking off the favorite Vanderbilt Commodores, 7-4. The Wolverines lead the best-of-3 series 1-0, with Game 2 scheduled for Tuesday night.
Michigan received a strong performance from junior southpaw Tommy Henry, who held the Commodores to four runs on seven hits and a walk across 8 1/3 innings. Henry generated 16 swinging strikes on 110 pitches, resulting in eight strikeouts. Henry did yield a home run to J.J. Bleday, which represented the 27th of the year for the Division I home-run leader:
Sophomore right-hander Jeff Criswell, whose three saves entering Monday all came during the NCAA tournament, later closed out the game.
While Henry and Criswell kept Vanderbilt's lineup in check, his teammates jumped on the Commodores. Michigan scored two runs in each of the first two innings against Drake Fellows. Every Wolverine starter reached base at least once, with six of the nine getting on board at least twice.
That includes first baseman Jimmy Kerr, who drove in two with a seventh-inning dinger to turn a 4-3 game into a 6-3 game. Kerr's home run was his third of the College World Series, setting a new school record:
Michigan also saw catcher Joe Donovan launch a dinger, joining a group of six Wolverines to drive in at least one run:
Game 2 can be seen on ESPN beginning at 7 p.m. ET. With a win, the Wolverines will clinch their first national title since 1962.
For more on the College World Series, remember to check out our guide to the finals.