Michigan And CMU Slug Their Way Into NCAA Baseball Tourney
Both the Wolverines and the Chippewas needed to win their respective league tournaments to qualify, and that's exactly what they did.
'Miracle' Chippewas Rally From 6-1 and 5-1 Deficits To Take Title
The big bats came in handy for Central Michigan's Chippewas, as the Chips were down, 6-1, to Toledo in two different games in the tournament and rallied to win, and then they trailed #1 seed and host school Ball State, 5-1, in the Mid American Conference title game, and rallied to win, 11-7.
Central went into the MAC tournament as the number two seed behind host Ball State.
The Chips opened the tournament last Friday by rallying past Toledo, 11-10 by having the tying and winning runs walked in by an errant Rocket pitcher. After being dropped into the loser's bracket by the host school, Ball State, 9-7, later Friday, the Chips again rallied past Toledo, 10-7, early Saturday.
Faced with an elimination game, Central defeated Ball State, 12-3, late Saturday to set up a winner take all showdown with the Cardinals Sunday afternoon.
The Chips fell behind 5-1 and then 6-2 early, but then lit up the Cardinal pitchers for at least two runs in each of the last four innings to clinch a berth in the NCAA tournament. Robby Morgan had a two-run homer in the sixth inning, cutting the deficit to 6-4. Garrett Navarra hit a three-run blast in the seventh to put the Chippewas in front, 7-6.
"What's special about it is, a month ago, we weren't able to do that. We fell behind against good teams and we didn't come back; we really challenged these guys. I said we were going to have to toughen up and they really did. I can't say enough about them coming together as a group," head coach Jordan Bischel said following the miracle rally weekend.
The tournament win was Bischel second as Chips head coach, and the team's third straight NCAA tournament bid.
The Chippewas will face 13th ranked Florida Friday, June 3 at 6:30pm in the opening round of the Gainesville regional.
Michigan Overwhelms Rutgers To Win Big Ten Tournament, 10-4.
The Wolverines were a surprise winner of the Big Ten tournament, after entering as the fifth seed. They won the Big Ten title Sunday, defeating Rutgers, 10-4.
The Wolverines opened tournament play with 7-5 win over Illinois last Thursday. UM then shocked top seeded Maryland, 15-8 Friday, putting them in the drivers seat as Iowa, out of the losers bracket, had to beat the Wolves twice in a row to earn a place in the title game. Iowa won game one 7-3, but the Wolverines bats came back to life early Sunday with a 10-3 to earn a spot in the title game with Rutgers.
The second Iowa game was marred by an incident involving Michigan pitcher Willie Weiss, who was tossed from the game and given a four game suspension for using an illegal substance on the ball.
Michigan coach Erik Bakich told reporters after the game, that the team owned his mistake.
“It’s like when you’re a parent and your kid makes a mistake,” Bakich said. “You don’t love them any less but you have to admit you made a mistake. … That’s not part of our program”
Michigan Travels To Louisville For Their NCAA Regional Action
The Wolverines will face Oregon from the Pac-12 Friday at 7:00pm in their tournament opener. Other teams in the region include host Louisville and Southeast Missouri State.
The Wolverines are making their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance under Bakich and 26th overall. Under Bakich, Michigan has appeared in the 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021 and now the 2022 tournaments.
The Wolverines were NCAA runners-up in 2019, losing in the title series to Vanderbilt. Last season, they were eliminated by Notre Dame in the opening round.
4 Big Ten Football Realignment Possibilities