With only one more victory separating them from a trip to Omaha, the #7 Louisville Cardinals (49-16) did their job and then some as they shutout #10 East Carolina (47-18) while plating 12 runs themselves. More than 4,400 fans were present to see part 2 of an absolutely dominating weekend over the Pirates, with Louisville plating double digit runs for the second straight day as well as holding the Pirates hitless through 8 innings.
Starting pitcher Bobby Miller had one of the most clutch performances of his career, making one of the best offenses in college baseball look completely lost. The Pirates were batting .298 on the season heading into the weekend, but Miller only allowed 4 baserunners over his entire 8.0 inning start. While he only struck out 5 batters, he carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning only to have it broken up in the bottom of the ninth on a no-out single by ECU’s Thomas Francisco.
Instead of waiting until the middle innings to get the bats going like in game 1, the Cardinal Nine got going almost immediately to start the game. ECU starting pitcher LHP Alec Burleson only lasted 2 innings into the game, with Drew Campbell making him pay any way he could. The junior outfielder from Jeffersonville, IN got the scoring started in the second with an RBI triple deep into the right-field gap, then immediately came home off a Burleson wild pitch.
It didn’t get much better for the Pirates, as Louisville doubled up their lead in the very next inning. Facing two outs, Campbell would register his second extra base hit of the game with a double to put him and freshman third baseman Alex Binelas in scoring position. Both baserunners would score on the next at-bat, with second baseman Justin Lavey getting a double of his own. The second-straight 3-spot would be completed by Henry Davis, as the freshman catcher placed a base hit right in between the third baseman and shortstop to bring Lavey home.
ECU’s pitching staff kept Louisville in check for one inning before the Cards got right back to work in the fifth. A pair of singles and a walk would load the bases full of Cardinals for the second time in the game, but this time coming with no outs. Henry Davis would capitalize on the opportunity and get his first base hit of the weekend, bringing home a runner in the process. Two consecutive groundout RBIs from Lucas Dunn and junior first baseman Logan Wyatt would be responsible for the other 2 runs for Louisville’s third 3-spot on the afternoon.
All of Louisville’s runs came in bunches of threes, and that was no different in the ninth. Lavey connected on his second RBI double of the game to put Louisville into double digit run territory, with sophomore outfielder Lucas Dunn also doing so for his first base hit of the game. Inserted in the ninth in what would be his final at-bat at Jim Patterson Stadium, senior catcher Zeke Pinkham also connected in the ninth to drive in his 16th RBI of the season.
Inheriting a no-out/two baserunner jam in the bottom of the ninth, Michael Kirian did everything you could ask for out of a reliever in that situation. Despite allowing a walk to load the bases, he would execute a 1-2-3 double play to keep ECU off the scoreboard, then drew a fly out for the third and final out.
Louisville will await the winner of the Nashville Super Regional for their first game in Omaha. The full CWS schedule will be released following the conclusion of all of this weekend’s super regional action.
W: Bobby Miller (7-1), L: Alec Burleson (6-2)
- Louisville advances to their 5th College World Series appearance in program history (2007, 2013, 2014, 2017).
- This is the fourth time this season that Louisville has taken a no-hitter to the eighth inning (February 22 vs. Brown, March 1 vs. James Madison, March 31 vs. Wake Forest).
- Outfielder Drew Campbell (3-5) & second baseman Justin Lavey (3-3) both matched career highs in hits.
- Louisville is tied with Florida & TCU for the most CWS appearances since 2013 with 4. LSU and Texas Tech also have a chance to tie depending on their super regional outcome.
- Louisville’s 26 runs in both games vs. ECU is the second highest run total the Cards have ever plated in a Super Regional (31 runs vs. Oklahoma State – 2007), and the most ever in a two game Super Regional.