Michigan beats Vandy 7-4; 1st title since '62 is 1 win away

Michigan’s Joe Donovan (0) celebrates with teammates after his eighth-inning home run. Michigan would win its first CWS title since 1962 with a win Tuesday night.

OMAHA — Jimmy Kerr homered for the third time in the College World Series, and Michigan beat Vanderbilt 7-4 in Game 1 of the best-of-three finals Monday night.

The Wolverines (50-20), who barely got into the NCAA Tournament after a poor finish to the regular season, are seeking the school’s first baseball championship since 1962. Ohio State is the last Big Ten school to take home the title, winning it all in 1966.

Game 2 is Tuesday night.

Kerr’s two-run shot into the right-field bleachers in the seventh inning was followed by hugs all around for his family members. Among them were grandfather John Kerr, a member of the ‘62 Wolverines, and dad Derek Kerr, who played on the 1984 team, the last one to make it to the CWS before this year.

Tommy Henry (12-5) was unflappable for a second straight start. Coming off a three-hit shutout of Florida State on June 17, he struck out eight while pitching 8 1/3 innings of seven-hit ball. Jeff Criswell got the last two outs.

Vanderbilt (57-12) spotted Michigan a 4-0 lead. But it was 4-3 after JJ Bleday, the No. 4 overall draft pick by the Miami Marlins this month, hit his nation-leading 27th homer on Henry’s first pitch of the sixth.

Sign up for The Daily Nonpareil Newsletter

Receive stories like this everyday to your email. Sign up for our daily newsletters here.

Kerr, a senior who went to Michigan as a walk-on, has played a huge role in his team’s improbable postseason run. He has hit seven of his 15 homers over 11 NCAA Tournament games and is batting .389 (7 for 18) in the CWS.

When the 64-team national tournament started, Caesar’s Palace sports book had Michigan listed at 200-to-1 odds to win the championship.

The Wolverines, sent to Corvallis, Oregon, as a No. 3 regional seed, staved off elimination in the first two rounds of the tournament. In the super regionals at UCLA they knocked out the No. 1 national seed. They won three straight in CWS bracket play, taking out No. 8 national seed Texas Tech, and now have their sights set on beating the No. 2 in Vandy.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.