Championship series features No. 23
The Daily Reflector
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
The College World Series national championship best-of-three series began Monday night with Michigan head coach Erik Bakich and assistant head coach Nick Schnabel both proudly wearing No. 23 to honor Keith LeClair on major college baseball's biggest and final stage in Omaha, Neb.
LeClair coached the Michigan now-coaches, along with current East Carolina head coach Cliff Godwin and plenty others, while leading the Pirates to a 212-96-1 record from 1998-2002. LeClair died at age 40 on July 17, 2006, after a five-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Michigan won Game 1 over Vanderbilt, never trailing in a 7-4 victory to move one win away from claiming the national championship.
Bakich, 41, a Vanderbilt assistant from 2003-09, and Schnabel played together at ECU in 1999 and 2000. Godwin was a Pirate catcher from 1998-2001.
Godwin posted on Twitter last Friday that he will go to Omaha during the national championship to support his former teammates who are honoring LeClair and trying to give the Wolverines their first national title since 1962. Michigan made an upset run to return to the CWS for first time since 1984, eliminating No. 1 overall seed UCLA during the super regional round.
Vanderbilt is the NCAA No. 2 overall seed for the 64-team tournament that began May 31. ECU was eliminated by Louisville in a super regional on June 8.
The LeClair coaching tree also includes Bryant Ward, who wears No. 23 as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at UCLA.