The #2 seeded Oregon Ducks open post-season play against a team that they’ve never faced before - The #3 seeded Michigan Wolverines. The Wolverines are no strangers to tournament play and were last in the CWS in 2019.
Michigan had an up-and-down season but ended their season on a hot streak, winning the Big10 tournament and securing an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. Like Oregon, what the Wolverines lack in pitching is somewhat offset by their offensive firepower. The bats are lead by Joe Stewart and Clark Elliot, both of whom carry a .344 average into NCAA tournament play. Michigan regularly hits the long ball and has five players with double digit home runs. Seven players have hit double-digit doubles. Their bats came to life in the Big10 tournament, with the team as a whole batting .331 with a .440 on-base percentage.
Relief pitching is a strength of this Wolverines team, highlighted by the pitching of Cameron Weston and Jacob Denner. If the pitching gets in a groove they can shut down their opponents. Much like Oregon, the pitching can be inconsistent and the offense can’t always save the day.
The Ducks will attempt to rebound from their Pac-12 tournament flameout. A factor in their performance may have been the stacked schedule that the Ducks faced in the last few weeks of their regular season. Oregon has had plenty of time to rest and regroup, and we’ll see if they can pick themselves up and beat the other teams in the Louisville Regional - all of whom the Ducks have a legitimate shot to defeat.