Yesterday, the Central Michigan Chippewas and Michigan Wolverines found out they were heading to the College World Series. Both teams made it last time the tournament was held in 2019. The College World Series got canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chippewas in 2019 were eliminated in the regional rounds before the University of Miami in Florida. It was the first time since 1995 that the Chippewas played in the College World Series. Back in 2019, Michigan made it to the National Championship but lost to Vanderbilt. Now both teams are heading back to the College World Series in 2021. Here is the road both teams had to take to in order to make the big dance.
Central Michigan’s Road to the College World Series
Central Michigan did not have a hot start to their season. The Chippewas were 8-8 to start the season and were 0-2 at the beginning of MAC play. After a rocky start to the season, the Chippewas went on a roll the rest of the season. The team won 32 out of their last 40 games of the season and won their last eight games in a row. The team clinched their spot in the tournament with a sweep against Toledo on Sunday and won the MAC title.
The Chippewas also finished with a record of 40-16 and 31-6 in MAC play. The team won seven out of the 10 MAC play series and swept five of those series. It is also the second time in program history where the Chippewas had back-to-back 40 win seasons.
Head Jordan Bischel stated his team’s performance this past season, “We kept working and believing and staying behind each other. It’s been a tremendous job by the guys of sticking together and getting it done,” per Andy Sneddon of Morning Sun.
Michigan’s Road to the College World Series
Michigan went through the dirt road to make it to the College World Series. The Wolverines only played in conference games and no out-of-conference games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only due the games help with the teams resumes. But it also helps teams play and learn from out of conference games. Wolverines Head Coach Erik Bakich made a statement on how a conference-only schedule affected his team. Bakich stated, “When the Big Ten teams like us and any of the other teams can go out early in the non-conference schedule and challenge themselves with some other Power 5 opponents, especially some good ones, you get great feedback where you stand compared to them and what you need to work on,” per Angelique S. Chengelis of Detroit News.
Even though the Wolverines were in the top 4 for batting, pitching, and fielding statistically in the Big Ten. The team was having a rough time down the stretch, which made the Wolverines nervous. The team lost 10 out of the final 18 games left in the season, including losing two top seeds in Maryland and Nebraska.
The Wolverines ultimately could got an at-large bid from the committee into the tournament due to being top three in the Big Ten standings. . Nebraska and Maryland will represent the Big Ten in the tournament as well. The Big Ten has the fewest number of the teams in the College World Series out of the power five conferences.
When and Where will the Wolverines and Chippewas Play?
Michigan and Central Michigan will be playing in the same region. Both teams are in the South Bend region at Notre Dame. Central Michigan will play at 1 pm against host Notre Dame. Michigan will take on UConn at 7 pm. Both games will be on ESPN3.