East Carolina avoids no-hitter but not super regional sweep

East Carolina’s offense stayed silent for the second straight day as Louisville won 12-0 on Saturday to clinch a trip to the College World Series and send the Pirates home.

The Pirates went into their fifth NCAA super regional in program history averaging 6.9 runs per game this season, but managed just one run against Louisville pitching in the two-game sweep. East Carolina, which was looking to make its first trip to Omaha in 30 NCAA tournament appearances, is 1-10 in super regional games.

“I wish we would have played a little bit better baseball because the scores are not reality of how much better Louisville is than East Carolina,” East Carolina coach Cliff Godwin said. “They didn’t see the best East Carolina.”

Three years after the Pirates were a hit away from making it to Omaha at Texas Tech — the Pirates won the opener and had a runner on third in the 11th and 12th innings before the Red Raiders won the second game in the 13th and went on to win the series — they were outscored 26-1 by the Cardinals.

Cardinals starter Bobby Miller held East Carolina (47-12) hitless through the first eight innings to seal Louisville’s fifth trip to the College World Series.

“He was outstanding. Nobody was going to be able to beat him today,” Godwin said. “He is a guy throwing 94 to 96 miles per hour with a fastball on both sides. His change-up was really good and he had a slider.”

Evan Voliva pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief for East Carolina and Sam Lanier didn’t allow a run or hit in 1 1/3 innings. Thomas Francisco had the Pirates’ only hit.

While East Carolina’s offense was anemic, the Cardinals scored three runs in an inning three times in the first five innings Saturday to take an insurmountable lead.

Francisco broke up Miller’s no-hitter in the ninth with a single through the right side to put runners on first and second with no outs as the Pirates loaded the bases but couldn’t score — or delay the end of their season.

“This one weekend doesn’t define our whole season,” Pirate senior Turner Brown said. “We broke a lot of records.”

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