LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Coco Johnson drove in three runs and Louisville scored five times in the first four innings to cruise past Oklahoma State 12-3 on Sunday and advance to the super regionals.
With the win, the Cardinals (49-12) reached the super regionals for the third time in school history, and first since 2009. All three super regional appearances have come under seventh-year coach Dan McDonnell, and this is the first in which the Cardinals got there by going there 3-0 in the regional.
"I love what I witnessed out there today," McDonnell said. "It's just been a great year for the University of Louisville. I know our fans have had a very enjoyable year. It just says a lot about our program, how far we've come. That was the reason we expanded the stadium, to do it first-class and allow these fans to enjoy a great, great college baseball weekend."
Louisville won it in front of 4,374 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium, which was freshly expanded from about 1,500 seats before this season to its new permanent capacity.
Louisville chased Cowboys starter Kenton Bevacqua out of the game after a three-run third inning. In the next inning against reliever Brendan McCurry, Adam Engel blooped a ball down the right-field line that drove in two runs as Engel ended up with a triple.
The Cardinals added six runs in the top of the eighth to seal the win.
The big inning took Louisville from a precarious lead — the tying run would be no further away than standing in the hole at any given point — to a position so dominant, McDonnell put in reserves for the bottom half of the eighth with a nine-run lead.
The Cardinals have outscored opponents 70-29 in the eighth inning this season.
The Cowboys (41-19) were eliminated two wins short of qualifying for their first super regional since 2007, when they lost to Louisville in the same stadium.
Louisville took advantage of the Cowboys having come from the losers' bracket. The Cowboys beat Miami in an elimination game Sunday afternoon and had about 90 minutes between the two games. Oklahoma State's bullpen only went three innings in the first game — and Vince Wheeland pitched all three of those — but Kenton Bevacqua's start against Louisville lasted only three innings.