If you haven't been paying attention, now would probably be a pretty good time to start.
The University of Louisville baseball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament Super Regional by pounding 21 hits in a 16-6 thrashing of regional host and top seed Missouri.
The Cards, who had never won an NCAA Tournament game before this season, are now one of just 16 teams remanining from the original field of 64, and are just two wins away from a trip to Omaha and an appearance in the College World Series.
If he was at all affected by what transpired last night, Chris Dominguez certainly didn't show it.
The least popular man in Columbia, Missouri belted a grand slam to straight away center field that was the highlight of an eight-run Cardinal first which saw both the beginning and end of the day for Tiger ace Aaron Crow. Dominguez would later double off the wall in center and pound a three-run homer over the right field fence for a three-hit, seven RBI day.
The hero/villain of Louisville's 4-3 win Sunday night, Dominguez was booed heartily by the home crowd at every opportunity, including when he accepted the award for the region's Most Outstanding Player. The burly third baseman finished the tournament 8 for 19 (.421) with four home runs and 11 RBI.
To their credit, the Tiger's answered the bell in the second inning, scoring five runs and chasing U of L starter Skylar Meade. But after Meade's exit, Gavin Logsdon, Justin Marks, Kyle Hollander, Andrew Salgueiro and Trystan Magnuson combined to hold the Mizzou offense to a single run.
On the other side of the scoreboard, Dominguez and the Louisville offense were as unstoppable as they had been all weekend long. Jorge Castillo, who was 9 for 22 with a pair of dingers and 11 RBI for the tournament, blasted a three-run shot in the bottom of the fifth that made the score 15-5 and officially crushed the hopes of the Missouri players and fans.
In all, the Cardinals batted .380 in the regional, totaling 46 runs and 73 hits with eight homers in five tournament games, and scored in double digits for the 17th time overall while ending up one run shy of their season best. The 16 runs tied the most given up by the 11th ranked Tigers on the season.
Tempers flared again momentarily in the sixth when Mizzou pitcher Kyle Gibson took exception with Boomer Whiting's attempting to bunt with a ten-run lead, and intentionally drilled him with the next pitch. Whiting silently ran to first base, but a Missouri player in the dugout came out onto the field to voice his opinion on the matter and was ejected. Gibson then had more words for Whiting after the third out of the inning was recorded, but Boomer simply ran out to his center field posiiton and nothing more transpired.
Dominguez was one of seven Cardinals named to the All-Regional team. He was joined by: 1B Daniel Burton, 2B Logan Johnson, SS Chris Cates, CF Boomer Whiting, P Kyle Hollinger and P Gavin Logsdon.
Louisville will now take on Oklahoma State in the best-of-three Super Regional, with the winner advancing to the College World Series in Omaha. The Cowboys went 0-4 against Missouri this season.
The first game of the series will be played on either Friday or Saturday, and though the host hasn't been officially named, the Cardinal Nine is more than likely about to take its show on the road to Stillwater (Talented lead guitarist Russell Hammond may or may not be in attendance).
All Super Regional game dates, times and locations will be announced tonight at 11 p.m., and I'll have a post up as soon as the information comes in.
Just a fantastic show put on by the guys in red, white and black this weekend, and I can't believe I have to wait four or five days for more. Love it or hate it, you can expect much, much more baseball throughout this week.