They beat Mississippi State last night to earn a rematch with Vandy tonight. They'll need to beat Vandy twice to advance to the CWS Championship Series. The Cards actually outhit Vandy in their first meeting but lost 3-1 thanks to 2 homers by the Vandy 3rd baseman.
Ironically, Clemson was 3-1 against Louisville this season, including a 7-1 rout in the ACC Tournament in which Mat Clark was 5 outs away from a perfect game. The Tigers actually should have won all 4 meetings but lost in 11 innings early in the season due to an inability to lay down a sac bunt in the 9th.
If Louisville can win the title, the ACC will have a clean sweep in football, basketball and baseball this year. Not sure when a conference has done that last. Maybe the SEC when Florida won in football and basketball, but I think Oregon State might have won in baseball. Bet it's been decades since 3 different schools in the same conference swept all 3 titles.
The legendary #11 Mike Martin's career came to an end after losing to Texas Tech on Wednesday night. He set the all-time win record at Doug Kingsmore. I was there to cover his record-breaking 1,976th win, and coincidentally I was born in 1976. I don't think anyone will ever come close to his record of 40 or more wins in 40 straight seasons, and one of the great ironies in all of sport is that he never won a title in an astounding 17 trips to Omaha. To put that in perspective, Clemson is 5th in NCAA Tournament appearances, but Bill Wilhelm and Jack Leggett combined for 12 trips to Omaha. Vanderbilt and Louisville--the two winningest teams of the last 10 years--have combined for just 10 trips all time.
Louisville blew it! 2 outs away from the win, they gave Vandy 2 runs in the 9th and lost 4-3. No national title sweep for the ACC. By the way, they answered my question on TV last night, saying that no conference has won in football, basketball and baseball the same academic year in 45 years! It’s only been done 3 times ever.
So the championship is set between David and Goliath: Michigan vs Vandy. Perhaps David is beneath Michigan because they have a very good team with a couple great starters. But the fact remains that they were one of the last 4 teams to make the 64-team field. It’s the basketball equivalent of a 12 or 13 seed making the championship game, which I don’t believe has ever happened. Vandy, on the other hand, was ranked #1 preseason and won the national title just a few years ago. Tim Corbin, of course, knocked his former school Clemson off in the Tigers’ regional each of the last 2 years.
Both of these teams are 3-0 in Omaha. Should be a great series! Michigan’s only national title was in 1962, and this would be the longest gap ever between titles. They hadn’t been to Omaha since 1984.