Armed with the best two-way player in the nation and a strong supporting cast, Louisville is heading back to Omaha for its first College World Series since 2014. Now the No. 4 nationally seeded Cardinals strive for their first national championship in program history.
Here's everything you need to know about the Louisville Cardinals.
Team nickname: Cardinals
School mascot: Louie the Cardinal
Conference affiliation: ACC
Home field: Jim Patterson Stadium (capacity 4,000)
Notable baseball alumni: Sean Green (1998-00), Chris Dominguez (2006-09), Adam Duvall (2009-10)
Number of NCAA tournament appearances: 11
College World Series appearances: 2007, 2013, 2014, 2017
CWS championships: None
Season record: 52-10 (23-6 ACC)
Coach: Dan McDonnell (11 seasons)
Coaching record: 508-201
Notable pre-NCAA tournament wins: Maryland (Feb. 18), at NC State (March 25-26), at Virginia (March 31, April 2), Kentucky (April 4), at Clemson (May 12-14)
How they got here: 3-0 in regional (beat Radford, Oklahoma, Xavier); 2-0 in super regional (beat Kentucky twice)
Next up: Texas A&M (41-21) in first stage of CWS
How the Cardinals rank
Final D1baseball.com ranking: No. 7
NCAA tournament national seed: No. 7
RPI: No. 6
Team batting average: .289 (67th)
Team ERA: 2.85 (third)
Players to watch
Top hitter: Infielder Drew Ellis was the catalyst in Louisville's super regionals sweep over Kentucky with a pair of long home runs and a 3-for-4 day at the plate in Game 2 following another home run in the series opener. He has a team-high .367 batting average and 20 home runs as the Cardinals' top power threat in the middle of the lineup. Ellis has made pitchers pay for working around Brendan McKay to get to him in the order.
Top starter: Speaking of Brendan McKay, it'd be cheating to tab him in both sections despite taking home his unprecedented third straight John Olerud Award, given to the top two-way player in the nation. At the plate, he has 17 home runs hitting ahead of Ellis in the cleanup spot. On the mound, he just broke two program records against Kentucky with his 385th career strikeout and his 140th of the season. He tossed 6.2 innings and allowed just two runs in that series-clinching victory. For the year, he's 10-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 16 starts.
Top reliever: The Cardinals are blessed with one of the top shutdown arms in the nation with closer Lincoln Henzman, who has 16 saves and three victories in 25 appearances. Henzman isn't a fireballer — he has 36 strikeouts in 35.2 innings — but he's a strikethrower who hits his location consistently. It was an unsteady outing last time out vs Kentucky, when he allowed two runs on three hits in the ninth inning, but that marked just the second outing this year where he's allowed more than one run.