What a difference a day can make.
After Game 1 of the College World Series Finals, Michigan was in control with a win, having only used three pitchers for the entirety of the College World Series and scoring heaps of runs with an aggressive offensive style.
In Game 2, Vanderbilt starter Kumar Rocker flummoxed Wolverine bats, pitching 6.1 innings with 11 strikeouts and allowing only one run. Meanwhile, Michigan ran through a string of bullpen arms, all appearing in the College World Series for the first time, costing Michigan a 4-1 Game 2 loss.
Michigan starter Isaiah Paige pitched well, going four innings without giving up a run, but things started to unravel in the sixth inning for the Wolverines when a string of hits and defensive errors put Vanderbilt up, 3-0.
From there, the teams traded a run, but Vanderbilt closer Tyler Brown pitched the last three innings to shut Michigan down.
There was much speculation as to whether Wolverine coach Erik Bakich would start sophomore Jeff Criswell, one of Michigan’s three ace arms, who had been coming out of the bullpen, or maybe Karl Kauffmann, who beat Texas Tech in the semis. In the end, Bakich used neither, meaning both might be available for tomorrow’s decisive Game 3 at 7 p.m.
The Game 3 status of Michigan leadoff hitter Jordan Nwogu is unknown but prospects looked grim when he was helped off the field early in Game 2 with an apparent leg injury.
9th inning: Brown closes it out
Bleday grounded out to second. Paul flew out to center. Clarke struck out.
End T9: Vanderbilt 4, Michigan 1
Blomgren grounded out to second. Donovan popped out. Thomas grounded out to third to end the game.
End B9: Vanderbilt 4, Michigan 1
8th inning: Michigan running out of outs
Duvall flew out to center field. Infante flew out to right field. Martin flew out to center field to end the half-inning.
End T8: Vanderbilt 4, Michigan 1
Kerr grounded out to third. Nelson flew out to center. Bullock lined out to second.
End B8: Vanderbilt 4, Michigan 1
7th inning: Vanderbilt and Michigan trade runs
Paul struck out swinging. Clarke hit a solo home run to right field, making it 4-0 for Vanderbilt. DeMarco grounded out to Thomas for the second out. Scott hit a double to left-center, prompting Bakich to replace Smith with freshman Willie Weiss.
With two outs, Ray flew out to center to end the inning.
End T7: Vanderbilt 4, Michigan 0
Blomgren hit a leadoff single to left, then a balk was called on Rocker to move Blomgren to second. Donovan struck out swinging for Rocker's 11th strikeout. Rocker was then replaced by Vanderbilt closer Tyler Brown.
With one out, Thomas hit a single to left, scoring Blomgren from second and making it 4-1 for Vanderbilt. Clementi struck out looking for the second out. Franklin drew a walk. Brewer struck out looking to end the inning and the threat.
End B7: Vanderbilt 4, Michigan 1
6th inning: Vanderbilt stretches lead
DeMarco hit a leadoff single to left. Scott drew a walk. Ray bunted to move DeMarco to third and Scott to second with one out, prompting Bakich to replace Keizer with junior Jack Weisenburger.
With the infield in, Weisenburger threw a wild pitch, scoring DeMarco, moving Scott to third and walking Duvall. Another wild pitch scored Scott. Infante drew a walk, prompting Bakich to replace Weisenburger with sophomore Angelo Smith.
With one out, Martin struck out swinging. Bleday struck out swinging to end the inning.
End T6: Vanderbilt 3, Michigan 0
Franklin grounded to second, but the ball was bobbled by Ray, and Franklin beat the throw. Brewer hit a bloop single to left, giving Michigan two aboard. Kerr struck out swinging on a high fastball for Rocker's 10th strikeout.
With one out, Nelson flew out to left. Bullock flew out to right to end the inning.
End B6: Vanderbilt 3, Michigan 0
5th inning: Vanderbilt strikes first
Ray hit a single to left, prompting Bakich to replace Paige with Benjamin Keizer. Duvall hit a grounder to short, but it went between Blomgren's legs, leaving runners on first and third.
With no outs, Infante struck out. Martin hit a grounder, scoring Ray and moving Duvall to second with two outs. Bleday was intentionally walked, then a passed ball moved the runners to second and third. Paul was then intentionally walked, but Clarke grounded out to Blomgren to end the inning and the threat.
End T5: Vanderbilt 1, Michigan 0
Donovan grounded out to second. Thomas struck out for Rocker's eighth strikeout. Dominic Clementi batted for the injured Nwogu and struck out looking.
End B5: Vanderbilt 1, Michigan 0
4th inning: Pitching duel continues
Paul grounded out to the second baseman. Clarke hit a looping single, just off the glove of Thomas. DeMarco struck out looking for Paige's fourth strikeout. Scott then struck out swinging to end the inning.
End T4: Michigan 0, Vanderbilt 0
Brewer flew out to right field, and Bleday made a diving catch for the first out. Kerr stuck out swinging for Rocker's seventh strikeout. Nelson grounded to shortstop, but Paul bobbled it, allowing Nelson to reach first base safely.
With two outs, Nelson stole second base for his 17th steal of the season. Bullock walked, then Nelson and Bullock executed a double steal, putting runners on second and third base.
Donovan grounded out to shortstop to end the inning and the threat.
End B4: Michigan 0, Vanderbilt 0
3rd inning: Baserunners but no more
Ty Duvall flew out to center on the first pitch, then Julian Infante got a hit to right. Michigan catcher Joe Donovan let one through his legs, advancing Infante to second. Martin grounded out to shortstop for the second out, advancing Infante to third.
Bleday hit a ball to center-left, and Bullock made a nice running catch to end the inning and the threat.
End T3: Michigan 0, Vanderbilt 0
Jack Blomgren got Michigan's first hit, a bullet to left. Donovan laid down a sacrifice bunt for the first out, moving Blomgren to second. Ako Thomas drew a walk.
Nwogu hit a grounder to third which was fumbled by Vanderbilt's third baseman, making Blomgren safe at third and Thomas safe at second, but Nwogu appeared to injure his leg running to first and was called out. Nwogu had to be helped off the field.
With two outs, Franklin struck out swinging.
End B3: Michigan 0, Vanderbilt 0
2nd inning: Michigan in pitching duel
Vanderbilt's Philip Clarke started the inning by hitting a ball to shallow right, caught by Brewer on the slide, then Paige struck out Pat DeMarco swinging.
With two outs, Stephen Scott hit a towering ball down the right field line but just foul. Scott would then hit a grounder that got under the glove of first baseman Jimmy Kerr for an error, putting Scott on first.
Harrison Ray ground out to shortstop for the third out.
End T2: Michigan 0, Vanderbilt 0
Kerr got ahead in the count, 3-0, but ended up striking out swinging. Blake Nelson struck out on three pitches, then Christian Bullock struck out on three strikes for Rocker's fifth strikeout.
End B2: Michigan 0, Vanderbilt 0
1st inning: Michigan starts freshman Paige
Freshman Michigan starter Isaiah Paige struck out Austin Martin to start the inning. JJ Bleday flew out to center, then Paige struck out Ethan Paul looking.
End T1: Michigan 0, Vanderbilt 0
Vanderbilt ace Kumar Rocker struck out Jordan Nwogu swinging to start the bottom of the first. Jesse Franklin flew out to left, and Jordan Brewer struck out swinging to end the first.
End B1: Michigan 0, Vanderbilt 0
Michigan can win its first national championship in baseball since 1962 with a victory over Vanderbilt on Tuesday night in the College World Series. You can follow the action here with live updates throughout the game by Eric Coughlin of The Detroit News.
MICHIGAN VS. VANDERBILT
What: Game 2 of best-of-three College World Series finals
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Where: TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, Neb.
Records: Michigan 50-20, Vanderbilt 57-12
Series: Michigan leads 24-18-1