LOUISVILLE — Bobby Miller carried a no-hitter into the bottom of the ninth inning, Justin Lavey had three RBI and the Cardinals beat East Carolina 12-0 on Saturday to clinch the NCAA super regional and reach its fourth College World Series since 2013.
Miller (7-1), a McHenry West graduate, hit Chandler Jenkins with a pitch to start the ninth before Thomas Francisco singled through the hole to right to end his bid for the Cardinals' first no-hitter since March 26, 1983 by Dave McCormick against Cincinnati. It would have been the eighth no-hitter in NCAA postseason history and the first in a super regional. Michael Kirian relieved the sophomore right-hander, who walked off to a standing ovation and hugs from teammates. Miller struck out five, walked two and hit a batter in facing 27 batters.
Kirian walked Bryant Packard to load the bases before a double play at the plate. He then hit Alec Burleson before Jake Washer's game-ending fly to center to preserve the shutout. Louisville earned its fifth trip to Omaha, Nebraska, and second in three years.
Lavey hit a two-run double in the third and doubled in another run in the ninth for the Cardinals (49-16) who scored three runs each in the second, third, fifth and ninth innings. ECU (47-18) was outscored 26-1 with just eight hits this weekend.
For a while, the Pirates seemed destined to settle for seven hits thanks to Miller's remarkable pitching.
His fastball remained well above 90 mph even into the ninth, while his breaking balls and inside pitches frustrated ECU. The combination kept Miller perfect until the third, when he allowed a third-inning walk to Dusty Baker before getting an inning-ending double play to stay on track for the minimum 27 batters.
Louisville's offense meanwhile continued clicking offensively with 14 hits a day after piling up in Friday's 14-1 shellacking.
Lavey was 3-for-3 while Drew Campbell was 3 for 5 with two RBI delivered with a second-inning triple off Burleson (6-2) that got the Cardinals started. Campbell eventually scored on a wild pitch.
That turned out to be all the support Miller needed, though they continued hitting the ball well. Especially the bottom of the order, where Lavey, Campbell and catcher Henry Davis combined for six hits and seven RBI. Leadoff hitter Lucas Dunn had two RBI.