Louisville, winners of the Big East regular-season and tournament titles, advanced to the Super Regional by defeating Big Ten tournament champion Indiana, Sun Belt champion Middle Tennessee and Vanderbilt, the SEC Tournament champion.
"Louisville is a formidable opponent and we are excited to be hosting this Super Regional," Cal State Fullerton coach Dave Serrano said. "From what we gather, we think pitching is Louisville's strength. Both teams have good offenses. It's a pretty well balanced Super Regional with two good teams playing well at the same time."
The Cardinals will face a huge challenge against No. 2–seeded Cal State Fullerton, who swept through their regional last week to advance to this weekend's Super Regional series. The four-time CWS champs are making their ninth Super Regional appearance. The Titans were swept at home last year by Stanford in the Super Regional.
Of the 16 teams remaining in the NCAA tournament, Cal State Fullerton is the only non-BCS school remaining.
Friday 10:30 pm (ESPN2): Louisville Dean Kiekhefer (6-4, 4.65 ERA) vs Fullerton Daniel Renken (10-2, 2.56 ERA)
Saturday 5:00 pm (ESPN): Louisville Justin Marks (11-2, 3.40 ERA) vs Fullerton Noe Ramirez (8-1, 2.91 ERA)
Sunday 10:00 pm (ESPN2): Louisville TBA vs Fullerton Tyler Pill (11-3, 3.95 ERA)
Louisville has tied its school record for victories this season after winning its first Big East Conference regular season title. The Cardinals also won the Big East Tournament with a 4-1 record.
Offense: The offense revolves around power hitters Chris Dominguez (.348, 23 HRs, 80 RBI), Phil Wunderlich (.372, 18 HRs, 78 RBI) and Andrew Clark (.356, 9 HRs, 55 RBI). Louisville has a .308 team batting average and the Cardinals have hit 83 home runs this season. The Cardinals have six hitters batting better than .300 and have stolen 90 bases.
Pitching: The Cardinals feature two outstanding left handed starters in Justin Marks (11-2, 3.40 ERA) and Dean Kiekhefer (6-4, 4.56 ERA). Marks was the MVP of the Regional with a win over Indiana and a save vs. Vanderbilt. Tony Zych (6-2) and Derek Self (7-0) provide middle relief for the Cardinals. Zych came up with a big performance in the regional championship game against Vanderbilt. Neil Holland leads Louisville with three saves. The team ERA is 4.14.
Coaching: Dan McDonnell has led the Cardinals to three consecutive 40-win seasons and has a current record of 135-61. The Citadel graduate had been an assistant at his alma mater and Mississippi before getting his first head job in 2007, leading Louisville to its first CWS appearance in his rookie season.
Offense: Cal State Fullerton's offense is led by Josh Fellhauer, who is hitting .399 with five home runs, 53 RBI and 17 stolen bases. SS Christian Colon is batting .351 with seven homers and 51 RBI, while Khris Davis leads the team with 16 home runs and has a .330 average. CSF boasts eight hitters with a .300 batting average or higher. The Titans also have 112 stolen bases on the season.
Pitching: The Titans have an excellent staff led by Daniel Renken, who went 10-2 this season with a 2.56 ERA in 15 starts that included two complete games. Noe Ramirez had 13 starts with an 8-1 record and 2.91 ERA, while Tyler Pill posted an 11-3 record and 3.95 ERA. Nick Ramirez leads the team with seven saves and has a 3-1 record and 2.70 ERA. The Titans have a solid 3.44 team ERA.
"I feel like we have a 1, a 1A and a 1B. I feel confident with whomever we hand the ball to," Dave Serrano said.
Coaching: In two seasons at Cal State Fullerton, Dave Serrano has led the Titans to a pair of Super Regional appearances. Serrano led UC Irvine to the College World Series in 2007 before taking over in Fullerton. He has an 86-36 record at Cal State Fullerton. Serrano has 200 wins as a collegiate head coach.
Dave Serrano: "If we are playing our game to our highest ability, we will have nothing to be ashamed of. It will come down to what the Titans do best. We don't want to get caught up in what they do. It looks like they have really good pitching, hitters in the middle of the order who are very scary and they do a lot of things. I think it's going to be a real good regional."