CWS 2019: Michigan Wins Game One Against Texas Tech

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Jimmy Kerr's two-run triple, which propelled the University of Michigan to its 5-3 win over Texas Tech in the opening game of the College World Series, was a case of intense preparation meeting opportunity.

Jimmy Kerr's two-run triple, which propelled the University of Michigan to its 5-3 win over Texas Tech in the opening game of the College World Series, was a case of intense preparation meeting opportunity.

Wolverines outfielders Jesse Franklin, who walked on a full-count pitch, and Jordan Brewer, who singled sharply to left, were on base with two outs. And Kerr found himself in an 0-2 count against Micah Dallas, who hadn't lost a game during his freshman season until this one.

So, Kerr was in a tough spot. But he choked up on the bat and stayed tough, pulling a 1-2 pitch down the right-field line before racing around the bases for his first triple in more than two years.

It was the game-changer, and it was deeply rooted in the marathon "Two-Strike Battle" the Wolverines (47-20) gain resilience from in practices.

Michigan head coach Erik Bakich, named National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Coach of the Year prior to Saturday's (June 15) game, pitches to his batters separated into two teams in a game where every at-bat begins with a 0-2 count.

"It was a 'Two-Strike Battle' and it was so big that the two guys before me both got on base," said Kerr. "It wouldn't have meant anything without them. That drill makes a difference. We've been significantly better with two strikes since we really got into that. Like, the first time we played Texas Tech in March, we had too many strikeouts and then it was the same thing in a series at Ohio State.

"So, we made a commitment to battling and the competition in 'Two-strike Battle' helped bring that about."

The Wolverines are on a roll and next face Florida State -- another team on the last-four-in-the-tournament list -- Monday night in a winner's bracket game. The only thing for certain is that Michigan will choke up with two strikes, and come out ready to battle.