Baseball: Super Regionals!

Alan Oaks belted a pitch from the NCAA Player of the Year over the wall in left field in the top of the 10th inning to propel the Wolverines into the NCAA Super Regional on Monday night at Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn. Michigan got seven strong innings from starting pitch Chris Fetter who scattered seven hits over seven innings. Nate Recknagel also homered in the contest.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With one out and no one on in the top half of the 10th inning, Michigan freshman Alan Oaks etched his name forever into Michigan baseball lore with a home run over the left field fence that propels Michigan into the NCAA Super Regional round scheduled for next weekend against an opponent to be determined later.

Oaks, a freshman from White Lake, Mich., entered the game as a pinch hitter in the top of the 10th to face Vanderbilt ace David Price, and, with a 3-1 count in his favor, belted a pitch off the National Player of the Year over the fence in left field to put the Wolverines on top for good.

"From a coaching standpoint it wasn't some great call, as it turns out Oaks made me look good," Michigan coach Rich Maloney said following the game. "It'll be one that will go down in Michigan history. I don't know if you could have a more dramatic homer against the number one pitcher in the country."

With the season on the line, the Wolverines jumped on the nations top team early. An Eric Rose sacrifice fly in the top of the second inning plated third baseman Adam Abraham to put the Wolverines on top 1-0. A quick 1-2-3 inning later, Nate Recknagel, winner of Regional MVP honors, made it 2-0 with a home run off Vanderbilt pitcher Tyler Rhoden.

"They have superior pitching than anyone in the country and I'm truly humbled by the way my boys played. They played with energy and passion and they played to win," Maloney continued. "We truly felt that last year when Vanderbilt knocked us out twice that when they became the No. 1 team in the country I told the boys that we've got a real shot, because I truly felt that we played with them and any given day we could possibly win. I had no idea that we'd ever get a shot at them, and then the incentive of the media saying that this would be the easiest regional was a positive from our standpoint."

As you'd expect from the No. 1 team in the nation, Vanderbilt battled back in the bottom of the fourth. Pedro Alvarez launched a Chris Fetters pitch over the wall in left center field to make it 2-1 at the start of the inning. The Commodores offense continued to click with back-to-back singles, but a base running miscue by Vanderbilt shortstop Ryan Flaherty provided an easy out for Fetter who would just allow one more run in three more innings of work.

Michigan countered the Vanderbilt attack, though, as was the case so many times through the weekend. Jason Christian scored on a Brad Roblin double in the top of the fifth to put the Wolverines back on top by two, a lead that lasted all the way until the bottom of the eighth inning.

Vanderbilt tied it 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth. After opening the inning with both a single and a double, a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded pulled Vanderbilt within one with just one down. Another single with two-down in the inning tied it up to force the extra frame.

With the win, the Wolverines clinch their first NCAA Regional baseball title since the 1984 season. Michigan now awaits the winner of the Virginia vs. Oregon State match up for the chance to play their way into the 2007 College World Series.

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