One of the largest crowds in Jim Patterson Stadium history, some 4,374 fans, were on hand as the University of Louisville baseball team pounded Oklahoma State 12-3 in the NCAA Regional Championship game Sunday.
The radiant glow that has hovered over the University of Louisville athletic program during the 2012-13 academic year is still burning brightly, the UofL baseball team the latest benefactor of a magical year.
The Cardinals are headed to a NCAA Super Regional for the third time in six seasons, winning all three games in three days, clinching the Louisville Regional with a convincing 12-3 win over Oklahoma State on Sunday.
The near record crowd of 4,374 fans waited in vain after the game, anticipating another display of UofL enthusiasm, you know, the dog pile. They waited quietly, expectantly, but there would not be one this time around. This group of players is ambitious, still awre of shortcomings during the Big East Tournament, wanting something much more significant.
Or, as centerfielder Adam Engel put it, “We’re not finished yet.”
Coco Johnson, who was named the Regional’s Most Valuable Player, would agree that the celebrating can wait. Johnson went two for four driving in three runs against Oklahoma State. He had two home runs in Louisville’s 8-3 win over Bowling Green Friday.
Most encouraging going into a Super Regional is that UofL hitters are hitting again, and against good pitching. Engel, Nick Ratajczak and Ty Young each drove in two runs apiece. Jeff Gardner had two doubles Sunday.
The Super Regional could be held in Nashville or Louisville. Vanderbilt lost 5-0 to Georgia Teach Sunday. If Vandy loses again Monday, the Cardinals will be at home next weekend, enhancing the possibilities of adding another chapter to an epic year.