The field of eight has been narrowed down to two, as Michigan and Vanderbilt will battle it out for the title of College World Series champion, beginning with Game 1 Monday night.
Vanderbilt, which closed out the season at No. 1 in the RPI rankings, is the -270 favorite to defeat unexpected title contender Michigan in the best-of-three series. The Wolverines were unranked in the top 25 ahead of the College World Series but went on an impressive tear to knock out Florida State and Texas Tech on the road to the final. In the other side of the bracket, Vanderbilt defeated Louisville and Mississippi State to advance.
Neither the Commodores nor the Wolverines have lost a game in Omaha. Even more impressive, Michigan has lost just twice since the Big Ten tournament at the end of May, while Vanderbilt has lost only two games since April 15.
The Commodores are the better hitting team, ranked sixth in the nation in batting average (.314) and seventh in scoring (8.3 runs per game) and on-base percentage (.415). Michigan’s strength is pitching, with a 3.40 team ERA, ninth best in the country.
In Omaha, however, Vanderbilt’s scoring average dropped to four runs over its last three games, while Michigan has scored an average of 7.3, including a 15-3 blowout over Texas Tech to knock the Red Raiders out of the tournament. The Wolverines’ 15 run-outing is tied for the most runs scored in a CWS game at TD Ameritrade Park.
Vanderbilt never won by more than three runs against Louisville or Mississippi State. On Friday night the Commodores narrowly escaped the Cardinals, who led 2-1 before giving up two runs to Vanderbilt in the top of the ninth.
While Michigan has looked more impressive during the CWS, Vanderbilt is a -205 favorite to come out on top in Game 1. Don’t overlook the Wolverines just yet, though. They knocked off No. 1 national seed UCLA to earn a trip to Omaha, and now all they have to do is knock off No. 2 to win it all.
BetAmerica’s projected winner
Since the opening round of the College World Series, BetAmerica’s CWS computer simulation model has correctly predicted the winner in nine of 12 games. See below to find out who should win Game 1 and the overall final series based on our latest computer simulation.
Projected Game 1 winner (computer simulation run 10,000 times)
Projected best-of-three series (computer simulation run 100,000 times)
Game 2 of the series will be played Tuesday night at 7 p.m. If necessary, Game 3 will take place Wednesday at the same time.
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