Dogpile

Louisville players celebrate after defeating East Carolina 12-0.

The first team to punch its ticket to Omaha didn’t encounter much drama or tension this weekend, but that didn’t stop Louisville from dogpiling at the end of it all.

The Cardinals won their super regional opener 14-1 over East Carolina Friday. They clinched a College World Series berth with a 12-0 victory Saturday — and they joyously celebrated the achievement with their own mini mosh pit on the infield of their home ballpark.

It’ll be the fifth CWS appearance for Louisville, which is just two years removed from its last trip to Omaha.

This one — particularly after a weekend of dominance — feels extra special.

Omaha Bound

Louisville, by beating East Carolina 12-0 Saturday, becomes the first team to earn a spot in Omaha.

“This is a dangerous team,” junior infielder Justin Lavey said during the postgame press conference. “Everything clicked this weekend. I think it showed what we’re capable of.”

But the Cardinals were adamant Saturday that their journey is not yet complete.

They’ll find out soon which teams they’ll be contending with for the 2019 CWS crown.

After 12 innings, UCLA forced a third super regional game with its x-x win over Michigan. The Wolverines and Bruins will face off Sunday at 8 p.m.

It’s been 58 years since Duke’s last Omaha berth. The Blue Devils will face Vanderbilt in a Sunday rubber match after freshman pitcher Kumar Rocker threw a no-hitter and struck out 19 in the Commodores’ 3-0 win Saturday. Rocker’s no-hitter was the first in the NCAA tournament since 2012 and the eighth all time.

Several more CWS spots will be solidified soon. The winner of Sunday’s rubber match between Oklahoma State and Texas Tech will advance.

Louisville (49-16), at least for now, can relax with certainty that it still has more baseball to play. And the Cardinals should be mighty confident after their strong super regional showing.

Their pitching staff combined to hold the Pirates to eight hits in two games — the only run allowed came on a solo homer after Louisville had already built a nine-run lead in the series opener. The Cardinals’ offense, on the other hand, belted out 32 hits.

“I don’t know if it gets more complete than that,” Louisville coach Dan McDonnell said. “Two quality starts and double-digit runs and a big lead against one of the top teams in the country. Fortunately we jumped on them early.”

Things didn’t go as smoothly during the regional round two weeks ago.

The Cardinals lost their second matchup and had to win three straight elimination games to advance. They secured a last-at-bat win in the regional title game.

But they’re looking ahead with a purpose now.

Louisville’s brought talented and surging teams to Omaha before. But the Cardinals are just 2-8 in their previous four CWS appearances. They are hoping for an extended stay this time.

“We’re not finished yet,” McDonnell said.