ANN ARBOR, Mich. - When the Detroit Tigers drafted Jimmy Kerr in the 33rd round of the MLB draft, it caught people's attention because he plays locally for the Michigan baseball team.
Now it's catching people's attention because of his performance with the highest stakes.
Kerr had a solid regular season batting cleanup for Michigan. He hit .270 with eight home runs as a senior after beginning his career as a walk-on. His father played on Michigan's last College World Series team in 1984. His grandfather played on the last national championship team in 1962.
Since the NCAA Tournament began, Kerr has been a machine, nearly matching his regular-season home run total with seven blasts in just 11 games.
Kerr was a force in the Corvallis Regional, hitting a home run in each of the first two games before hitting two bombs in the third game. His streak came to an end in the regional final, but he reached base four times and pitched in a pair of RBI.
After a rare hitless performance in the first game against No. 1 UCLA in the Super Regional, Kerr racked up three hits and a walk in the final two games, helping Michigan advance to the first College World Series since his father's team.
What Kerr has done in Omaha even surpasses his MVP-caliber regional performance.
In four games -- two against No. 8 Texas Tech, one against Florida State and one against No. 2 Vanderbilt -- Kerr is 7-for-18 (.389) with three home runs, a double, a triple, a walk, six runs scored and eight RBI.
Michigan's offense has been relentless against some of the best pitching in the country, and Kerr is leading the charge.
The total stats don't even tell the full story. Kerr hasn't just been a monster at the dish, he's come through in the biggest moments.
In the opening game of the College World Series, Michigan had a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Kerr game up with two runners on and two outs. After falling behind 0-2, Kerr ripped the fifth pitch of the at-bat into the right field corner for a two-run triple. He scored three pitches later to give Michigan its fourth run.
That sequence would ultimately prove to be the difference, as Michigan beat Texas Tech 5-3.
Kerr came up with another big two-out hit against Florida State the following game. Michigan was again leading 1-0, this time in the fifth inning, when Kerr came up with two on and two out. He looked at a strike before smacking a single to center field to score the second and final run of the game.
Even though Tommy Henry didn't ultimately need that run, it was some valuable insurance at the time and allowed Henry to attack hitters without fear of a game-tying homer.
Before hitting two late home runs in the rematch with Texas Tech, Kerr kicked off the scoring with a two-out RBI double on the first pitch he saw from Micah Dallas.
In the sixth inning, Kerr led off by dropping a bunt down the third base line to beat the shift. That sparked a five-run outburst that sealed the win for Michigan and put them in the championship series.
Kerr homered in each of the two innings following his bunt single.
After so many clutch moments, it was no surprise Monday when Kerr once again came through for Michigan's offense.
The Wolverines were clinging to a one-run lead after jumping out 4-0 in the first two innings. Vanderbilt was gaining some momentum, and it felt like Michigan needed to find away to scrap across another run.
Kerr came up with one on and one out in the top of the seventh and fell down 0-2. On the third pitch of the at-bat, he connected with a no-doubt blast over the right field fence to give Michigan some breathing room.
It ended up being the game-winning hit, as Michigan won 7-4.
Kerr was the lowest of Michigan's five draft picks, but he's been the team's best hitter since the NCAA Tournament began.
The Wolverines were one of the last teams to make the NCAA Tournament, and now they're one win away from a national championship. Kerr was a walk-on who didn't become a full-time starter until his senior season, and now he's a future professional baseball player slugging his team toward a title.
Kerr is making a name for himself on college baseball's biggest stage -- a perfect embodiment of Michigan's underdog story.
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