A near perfect storm brewed in Louisville’s favor on Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals (49-16) hit the double digit mark in runs scored, and rode a no-hitter from pitcher Bobby Miller into the ninth inning to punch their ticket to the College World Series, shutting out #10 East Carolina (47-18) 12-0.
The win marks the fifth time in school history that Louisville will be making the trip to Omaha for college baseball’s penultimate event, all under head coach Dan McDonnell. All five of Louisville’s College World Series appearances have come after winning game one in their Super Regional.
For Louisville, three would be their magic number, as they scored three runs each in the second, third, fifth, and ninth innings.
Drew Campbell got Louisville on the board with a two-run triple in the second inning. A wild pitch would bring Campbell home to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead after two innings.
The third inning saw Justin Lavey drop a two-RBI double, then come home on an RBI single from Henry Davis. Davis would later give Louisville an RBI single in the fifth inning to push the Louisville lead to 7-0. Lucas Dunn and Logan Wyatt each had an RBI on their groundouts in the fifth, bumping Louisville’s lead to 9-0 after five innings.
With the game in-hand, Louisville still piled on runs with a three-piece in the ninth inning. Justin Lavey had an RBI double, Zeke Pinkham an RBI single, and Lucas Dunn hit an RBI double to left field.
Bobby Miller had a sensational performance on the mound for the Cardinals. Miller carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning, but the no-hitter bid would be cut short after a single to right field by ECU’s Thomas Francisco. Michael Kirian would come into the game and close the inning out, also preventing an ECU run on a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded.
Campbell, who came into the Super Regional after being drafted by the Atlanta Braves this week, had a spectacular performance with a 3-for-5 outing with two RBIs, ending up one home run away from hitting for the cycle. Justin Lavey was a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBIs, two doubles and three runs scored, and Henry Davis was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Campbell, Lavey and Davis combined for 8-for-12 in the bottom of Louisville’s order. Danny Oriente went 2-for-4 on the day as well. As a team, Louisville hit .390 (32-for-82) during the Super Regional.
The .390 batting average highlighted what became a lopsided Super Regional between the Cardinals and the Pirates. Louisville outscored ECU 26-1 across both games, outhit them 32-8, and only used four pitchers during the weekend (Reid Detmers, Garrett Schmeltz, Bobby Miller, and Michael Kirian). By comparison, ECU hit .136 through both games, used 13 different pitchers, and allowed 10+ runs in back-to-back games for the first time all season.
Louisville now awaits the rest of the College World Series to be set. U of L’s next opponent will be the winner of the Vanderbilt v. Duke Super Regional, with the winners of North Carolina v. Auburn and Mississippi State v. Stanford on their side of the bracket as well.