OMAHA, Neb. — Jesse Franklin hit the second pitch of the game out of TD Ameritrade Park. With the performance Tommy Henry was about to give, that was all the offense Michigan needed.
Henry limited Florida State to three hits and Franklin’s homer stood up in a 2-0 win Monday night that put the Wolverines in control of Bracket 1 in their first appearance at the College World Series since 1984. The Wolverines (48-20) are 2-0 for the first time in six appearances since 1962 and need one more win Friday to reach the best-of-three finals next week.
“In the biggest game in Michigan baseball history in a long, long time, we got the best pitching performance in Tommy Henry’s career,” Michigan coach Erik Bakich said. “He was the entire storyline tonight. He gave us something magical. I don’t know if there is an adjective to describe how good Tommy was, but he was better than that.”
Henry (11-5) was efficient in his second shutout of the season and Michigan’s ninth. The junior left-hander mixed a slider and change-up with his fastball and threw 100 pitches, including 24 first-pitch strikes against the 32 batters he faced. He struck out 10, walked none and went to three-ball counts just twice, both times in the first inning.
The defense also was outstanding, with Christan Bullock making big plays in left field and second baseman Ako Thomas diving to rob Robby Martin of a hit in the ninth inning.
“Pure joy,” Henry said, describing his feeling after the last out. “I’m sure everyone was feeling the exact same way. And so whether you were in the bunker all game or you hit a home run the second at-bat of the game, everyone is feeling that pure joy just because it’s a special team. We’re playing for each other, and we’re playing for the block ‘M’ on our hat.”
The Seminoles (42-22), trying to win retiring coach Mike Martin’s first national championship in his 17th trip to Omaha, have scored only two runs in their last 26 innings, although they managed a 1-0 victory over Arkansas on Saturday. They failed to win their first two games at a CWS for a 13th straight time since opening 2-0 in 1989.
Of the last 29 national champions, 24 won their first two games.
Texas Tech 5, Arkansas 4: OMAHA, Neb. — Cody Master’s first triple of the season drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, Taylor Floyd held off Arkansas in the ninth and Texas Tech stayed alive in the CWS. The No. 8 national seed Red Raiders (45-19) bounced back from a 5-3 loss to Michigan and will face Florida State in an elimination game Wednesday night. No. 5 Arkansas (46-20) was eliminated in two games a year after making it to the CWS finals.