2019 NCAA Baseball Tournament College World Series Finals: Experts' Picks and Predictions

The NCAA Division I college baseball tournament reaches its climax this week, as Vanderbilt takes on Michigan in the College World Series final at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

The best-of-three championship series begins on Monday night, with the first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m., with Game 2 and the eventual Game 3 scheduled for the following two days.

Both teams are looking for their own slice of history. Number two overall seed Vanderbilt returns to the championship series for the third time in five years, having previously defeated Virginia in 2014 and lost to the same opponent a year later.

Unseeded Michigan, meanwhile, knocked out number one overall seed UCLA on its way to Omaha, which marks the Wolverines first appearance in a College World Series championship game since 1962.

Here's what some of the top baseball writers expect from the College World Series finals.

Michigan Wolverines, NCAA baseball
Relief pitcher Jeff Criswell #17 of the Michigan Wolverines is congratulated after earning a save in the ninth inning of game 1 of the NCAA Super Regional against the UCLA Bruins at Jackie Robinson Stadium on June 7 in Los Angeles, California. The Michigan Wolverines defeated the UCLA Bruins 3-2. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty

Teddy Cahill—Baseball America

Michigan might be the underdog going into the championship series, but Cahill believes the role suits it just fine. Time and again this season, the Wolverines have rescued seemingly impossible situations, such as when they defeated Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament elimination game, and the momentum appears to be firmly with them.

"The entire trajectory of Michigan's season has changed over the last month since that game against Illinois," Cahill wrote. "No moment has been too big for the Wolverines and they've ridden a wave of momentum well beyond the breakthrough that eluded them during the regular season [...] After struggling all season to find that breakthrough win, the Wolverines have found their mojo in June."

Zach Shaw—247 Sports

While Michigan has made a habit of knocking off top seeds, Shaw suggests Vanderbilt will prove to be a step too far for the Wolverines.

"Vanderbilt (57-11) will enter the series as the favorite to win it all," he explained. "After opening the season ranked second in the country, the Commodores spent just two weeks outside the top five all season, winning a nation-leading 57 games against the third-toughest schedule.

"They also had a nation-leading 13 players drafted and are a staggering 12-1 in the postseason thus far including a 28-8 scoring margin over their last five games. If Michigan's postseason run were a movie, Vanderbilt would be the unstoppable, machine-like antagonist, fittingly awaiting in the title series."

Mike Lopresti—NCAA.com

The Wolverines were one of the last teams invited at the NCAA Tournament and have spent an enormous time on the road, with a sojourn in Nebraska stretching to 23 of the last 38 days. While most teams would find that dispiriting, Lopresti suggests coach Erik Bakich has used it as a source of motivation for his players.

"All that travel, all those days away. Time enough to face more than one crisis and survive them. Time enough to grow into a force nobody saw coming. Bakich has learned to appreciate what the trek has done for his suddenly relentless upstarts from the north."

Adam Sparks—Nashville Tennesseean

Sparks suggests performing under pressure could factor into the national championship series.

"Five of the Wolverines' last six games have been decided by two runs or less. Vanderbilt has less experience in close games, but a challenging SEC schedule means every game could be a battle."

2019 NCAA Baseball Tournament College World Series Finals: Experts' Picks and Predictions | Sports