Nine days of some of the best college baseball of the season were played at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in the 2019 College World Series. That led to plenty big plays that will be etched into our memories for this 73rd version of the CWS.
Let's take a look back at some of our favorite hits, pitches, and catches from the 2019 College World Series.
KKKKKKKKKKKumar Rocker's ace-defining start
Vanderbilt lost its first game of the 2019 College World Series in Game 1 of the CWS finals. With the Commodores' back to the wall, Rocker — a mere freshman who had already come of age in the NCAA baseball tournament with a 19-strikeout no-hitter in the super regionals — took the ball and propelled the Vandy Boys to Game 3, where they became the eventual national champions. His 11 strikeouts are tied for second-most in CWS finals play, falling one short of Brady Singer's 12 in 2017 for Florida.
Florida State's J.C. Flower's Swiss-Army knife performance in Seminoles opening win
It was a pitching duel between Florida State's Drew Parrish and Arkansas' Isaiah Campbell that made most of the headlines, but Flowers triple-play of sorts saved the day. Twice, actually. Flowers made a game-saving catch up against the wall earlier in the game and then scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth. With barely enough time to get celebratory high fives, Flowers sprinted to the bullpen where he got loose to record a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth and save the game for Parrish. It was head coach Mike Martin's 22nd and final win at the College World Series.
Auburn's Edouard Julien leaves the yard in historic fashion
The Tigers' sophomore third baseman hit 10 home runs this season, but none were as impressive as his final shot of his 2019 campaign. Julien got Auburn off to a 2-0 lead in the second inning with a blast that traveled 429 feet. That tied Florida's Peter Alonso for the longest home run in College World Series history (at least we think). Of course, that lead would only last seven innings...
CWS HOME RUN TRACKER: The longest home runs in Omaha, we know of
Mississippi State walks-off winners behind a four-run ninth for 28th comeback of 2019
Perhaps our own Mike Lopresti worded it best: "Baseball can be so two-faced...roses one minute and thorns the next." Julien, who was just one out away from being a hero, had a throwing error that led to Mississippi State's four-run comeback in the bottom of the ninth. The Mayor of Starkville, SEC hit leader Jake Mangum, got the rally started with a leadoff double and five plays later Julien's poor throw allowed the tying run to score setting up Marshall Gilbert to hit the game-winning walk-off single.
HOW THEY DID IT: Take a look at Mississippi State's 28 come-from-behind wins
Tommy Henry's gem keeps Michigan perfect
There was only one pitcher who tossed a complete game shutout in the 2019 CWS, and that was Michigan's Tommy Henry. And what a complete game it was. He shut down the Florida State offense quickly, needing just 100 pitches — a remarkable 71 of which were strikes — to get through nine. Of course, not allowing a single walk and striking out ten makes things go a lot more quickly.
Drew Campbell's walk-off sends Louisville to the CWS semifinals
Drew Campbell did it all for Louisville in its run to be among the final four teams in Omaha. He had a slick diving catch, as well as an assist at home plate in the Cardinals' win over Auburn, but it was his bat that saved the day against Mississippi State. Louisville began its comeback in the seventh trailing 3-0 with two runs before flipping the switch on the comeback kings and walking off themselves on Campbell's ninth-inning single. It was the first time Louisville had won multiple games in a single CWS.
The Jimmy Kerr Michigan Family Reunion
If you didn't know the story of the Kerrs by the end of the College World Series, well, you weren't paying very close attention. Jimmy Kerr's grandfather John threw an astounding 313 pitches in one day to help the Wolverines win a CWS in 1962 while his father Derek helped Michigan to the CWS in the early 1980s. Jimmy Kerr — who had just 194 decent at-bats in three years heading into the 2019 season — broke out in a big way leading Michigan with 15 home runs. He exploded in Omaha, recording seven hits and three home runs, two of which came in the same game to become the first Wolverine to ever accomplish the feat in the College World Series. Michigan's Cinderella run fell one game short, but the Kerr legacy will live on forever in Wolverine lore.
KEEPING UP WITH THE KERRS: Jimmy Kerr continues family tradition of CWS success for Michigan
The catch of the College World Series? This guy in the bleachers.
There were plenty of highlight reel plays made throughout the College World Series, but kudos must be given to Austin Buisse. He quickly became a sensation, catching a 421-foot Cameron Warren home run with his bare hand... and not spilling a single drop of his beer. The incredible catch was replay worthy on ESPN before taking off across social media giving Buisse well more than his 15 minutes of fame.
MORE ON BUISEE: Meet the fan who made the epic snag of Cam Warren's blast
11 bows out, Mike Martin coaches his final game in Omaha
It was almost like it was free baseball for Mike Martin and his Seminoles. After an up and down season that had many questioning if Florida State would even make it to the CWS, he and FSU went on the road to Alex Box Stadium and did the unthinkable by knocking off LSU in one of the toughest road environments in college baseball. It looked like Martin's career would end in fairy tale fashion after an opening win, but the Seminoles offense could only muster two runs in three games at the 2019 CWS. Martin ended his career with 2,029 wins and the title of winningest coach in the history of NCAA sports.