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Tommy Henry cements himself as Michigan baseball legend with College World Series performance

Michigan defeats Vanderbilt to pull one win away from national championship

Tommy Henry of the Michigan Wolverines reacts after striking out the final batter in the eighth inning against the Vanderbilt Commodores during game one of the College World Series Championship Series on June 24, 2019, at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. (Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

The Michigan baseball team is one win away from polishing off an incredible national championship run, and starting pitcher Tommy Henry has cemented himself as a program legend along the way.

Henry has been excellent throughout the NCAA Tournament, making four quality starts and leaving Michigan in position to win all four times.

Tommy Henry of the Michigan Wolverines delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Vanderbilt Commodores during game one of the College World Series Championship Series on June 24, 2019, at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. (Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

His first start came June 2 against Creighton in the Corvallis Regional. Though Michigan eventually lost the game, Henry allowed just three runs over 7.1 innings and left with the lead.

After Michigan survived a rematch with Creighton to advance to the Super Regional against UCLA, Henry got the ball in the program's most important game in decades: Game 3 with a chance to advance to the College World Series.

MORE: Jimmy Kerr is perfect embodiment of Michigan baseball underdog story at CWS

Henry was phenomenal against the No. 1 team in the country, allowing just two runs in seven innings and striking out six. He earned a victory that sent Michigan to the CWS for the first time in 35 years.

But Henry wasn't done. When it was his turn to take the mound in Omaha, Henry delivered the best performance of the year at the CWS, shutting out Florida State in a complete game three-hitter. He struck out 10 batters and only allowed five to reach base.

University of Michigan starting pitcher Tommy Henry pitches against Florida State in the 2019 College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo: Michigan baseball/@umichbaseball)

Not only did Henry pull Michigan within one game of the national championship series, he did so in a way that perfectly set up the pitching staff while Texas Tech was forced to battle through the loser's bracket.

On Monday, in his final start at the University of Michigan, Henry got a chance to pitch on college baseball's biggest stage.

PREVIEW: Michigan looks to cap magical CWS run with national championship

Vanderbilt's lineup is loaded with current and future MLB draft picks, but it couldn't do much against Henry. He cruised through 8.1 innings, allowing just three earned runs and striking out eight batters.

The Michigan bullpen only had to get two outs, leaving all options on the table for coach Erik Bakich heading into Game 2 of the series.

Pitcher Tommy Henry #47 of the Michigan Wolverines after finishing the sixth inning against the Vanderbilt Commodores during game one of the College World Series Championship Series on June 24, 2019, at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. (Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

Overall, Henry has pitched 31.2 innings in the tournament, striking out 31 batters while allowing only eight earned runs on 22 hits and three walks. Henry pitched at least seven innings in only three of his 16 starts during the regular season, but he's done so four times in a row in the tournament.

When the Wolverines needed to beat the No. 1 team in the country to get to the College World Series, they turned to Henry. When they called his number in Omaha, he gave them the inside track to the final series.

Pitcher Tommy Henry #47 of the Michigan Wolverines delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Vanderbilt Commodores during game one of the College World Series Championship Series on June 24, 2019, at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. (Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

Then, when he took the hill in his final college start, he pulled Michigan within one game of its first national championship in 57 years.

Michigan was one of the last four teams to make the NCAA Tournament field. If it can muster one more victory, Henry will be remembered at the forefront of the program's most magical championship run.

He's been at his absolute best with a championship on the line. That's how legends are born.


About the Author:

Derick Hutchinson

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in communications and a focus in journalism. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.