" Now they find themselves 2 wins away from a College World Series final and 4 wins away from FSU and Mike Martin’s first ever baseball national championship”
No matter what happens on Monday night, FSU and Michigan have already assured they will be 1 of the last 6 teams left in Omaha. FSU and Michigan were 2 of the final 4 teams to even make the NCAA tournament and three weeks later, these same two teams are about to face-off in the winner’s bracket of the College World Series. No one outside of hardcore Nole or Wolverine fans would have picked this three weeks ago, yet here we are. Whichever team wins Monday night will be one win away from the College World Series final.
Both teams checked in on Baseball America’s top 25 preseason rankings. The Noles coming off a disappointing 2018 ending returned a ton of talent mixed with a top 5 recruiting class checked in at number 6( ranked number 13 on D1 baseball’s preseason top 25). Michigan coming off a disappointing 2018 season where they just missed out on the NCAA tournament had high expectations after returning 24 players, most of their offense, and most of their pitching. Michigan came in ranked a top 25 by most publications including 20th by Baseball America, so despite both being preseason top 25 teams the 2019 regular season did not live up to those expectations for either club.
FSU started out 12-0 albeit against inferior competition. This hot start didn’t last though as they hit a rough patch for a large chunk of the season to drop all the way to 19-13 at one point before a sweep against Clemson started to right the ship. Even with improved play through the latter half of the season there were tons of question marks on this team. Inconsistent pitching and offensive blowout losses to mediocre and bad teams, and defense that was almost unwatchable at times. FSU lost 10-0 to a terrible Pitt team, 13-3 to a mediocre Virginia team and got blown out 14-1 and 11-0 to a really good Louisville team. All this while making what seemed like at least 1-2 errors per game. It was tough to watch. The offense was no hit by a Stetson team that finished below .500, yet somehow starting with their second game in the ACC tournament the Noles found something. The defense started playing like it had the first 12 games of the season, the pitching found useful relievers to compliment J.C. Flowers and their starting pitching became more consistent (especially C.J. Van Eyk).
Now they find themselves 2 wins away from a College World Series final and 4 wins away from FSU and Mike Martin’s first ever baseball national championship. Michigan started out hot also starting 8-0 before going 6-7 over their next 13 games. Michigan would hit another hot streak in the middle of the season before going cold again finishing the regular season on a 2-5 streak. They would go 3-2 in the Big 10 tournament and lose in the semifinals. FSU and Michigan wound up sneaking into the tournament and wound up hitting a hot streak at the right time. FSU has gone 6-0 in the tournament and they swept the Georgia regional including blowing out number 4 national seed Georgia twice at their own home. They then swept number 13 LSU in two close games at one of the toughest places to play in the nation.
Michigan went 3-1 in the Corvallis regional before taking two out of three against top overall seed UCLA in their own home. Both teams started in the top 25 and both teams had hot and cold streaks and both teams found themselves holding their breath on May 27 waiting to see if they even made the NCAA tournament. Now both teams will sit across from each other for 27 outs for the right to be one win away from the College World Series championship game. Nobody saw this coming three weeks ago and these teams have everyone’s attention. FSU and Michigan have both proved they belong in the College World Series.
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