The "survive and advance" cliche has never been more applicable to the Louisville baseball team than it is right now. If the Cards take care of No. 3 seed Oregon State this afternoon/evening, then they'll live to play again on Wednesday. If the Beavers prevail, Louisville's season is over.
Here's your preparatory reading.
LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (51-13) VS. NO. 3 OREGON STATE BEAVERS (50-12)
Game Time: 3 p.m. (ET)
Series History: First meeting
With their seasons on the line, both teams will send aces to the bump. Louisville will go with Big East Pitcher of the Year Jeff Thompson (11-1, 2.00 ERA), while Oregon State will counter with Ben Wetzler (9-1, 2.11 ERA). Thompson leads the nation in hits allowed, but Wetzler has won nine straight decisions since being beaten for the only time this season all the way back in March.
--The Cardinal bats have gone quiet at the wrong time, as the team is hitting just .241 in six NCAA Tournament games.
--Leading that disturbing trend is three-hitter Ty Young, who led the team with a .375 average during the regular season. He's hitting just .093 in eight postseason games.
--Adam Engle's double against Indiana was U of L's first extra-base hit since its regional championship game win over Oklahoma State almost two weeks earlier.
--Louisville leads the nation in getting hit by pitches (128) and is second in steals (150).
--The Cardinals staff ranks fifth nationally in ERA (2.49), second in hits allowed (6.85) and first in strikeouts (9.6).
Oregon State Notes:
--OSU has the most complete staff at the CWS, leading all of the teams in Omaha with a 2.31 team ERA.
--Closer Max Engelbrekt, who has been out for eight days with back spasms, threw Sunday and should be available if needed. No. 1 starter Matt Boyd closed out the team's super regional win over Kansas State and also pitched an inning of relief on Saturday. He could also be used out of the pen this afternoon.
--Left fielder Michael Conforto is coming off a tremendous 4-for-4 performance against Mississippi State in which he ripped two singles and two doubles. That's as many hits as the entire Louisville team had in their loss to Indiana.
--Third baseman Kavin Keyes leads the Beavers in batting in the postseason, hitting .423 with a double, a triple and three RBI.
--The Beavers are 3-0 in games played on Mondays this season and 7-1 all-time against the Big East.
--The Beavers have allowed opponents to steal only 23 bases in 52 attempts this season.
--Oregon State went on to win the national championship in 2006 after losing their opening game at the College World Series
--Oregon State won a coin toss on Saturday night and will be the home team for this game.
--Home teams have lost all four games so far at the College World Series.
--The winner of today's game will face the loser of tonight's Indiana/Mississippi State matchup on Wednesday at 8 p.m.