OMAHA, Neb. – Joey DeNato threw a four-hitter and Indiana looked right at home in beating Louisville 2-0 on Saturday night in the Hoosiers’ first appearance in the College World Series.
The Hoosiers manufactured their runs early, and DeNato (10-2) made them stand up in a masterful performance in front of a TD Ameritrade Park-record crowd of 27,122.
Indiana (49-18) has beaten the Cardinals (51-13) in three of four meetings, shutting them out twice. The Hoosiers will play Monday against Mississippi State, and the Cardinals will face Oregon State in an elimination game.
DeNato gave up three singles and a double in his second complete game. He struck out eight and walked three.
Cody Green (10-4) took the loss.
Indiana improved to 41-4 when scoring the game’s first run, but the win over Louisville was not indicative of the quality of the Hoosiers’ performance.
Indiana scored a first-inning run for the 29th time this season, as sophomore designated hitter Scott Donley singled up the middle to pick up his 59th RBI and extend the Hoosiers’ opening inning run differential to 60-24.
Indiana wasted a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the seventh.
Louisville junior Dace Kime relieved left-handed junior Cody Ege and induced a sharply hit ground ball to third baseman Ty Young, who smothered the ball on a hop, stepped on third to force out Travis and threw to first to complete the double play
Indiana fielded the ball flawlessly and denied the Cardinals any extra outs.
DeNato was brilliant. The San Diego native held the nation’s 30th-highest scoring team scoreless as he posted the Hoosiers’ second complete game of the season. He threw a career-high 136 pitches.
He received some help from Will Nolden.
Cardinals right fielder Cole Sturgeon went the other way with a two-out single to deny DeNato’s no-hit bid.
Indiana outfielder Nolden threw a frozen rope to catcher Kyle Schwarber, crouched a couple steps up the third base line, as the Cardinals’ Sutton Whiting had no chance to score.
The Hoosiers doubled their lead in the top of the third as Michael Basil’s RBI single drove home Nolden.
In the top of the fourth, a pair of strikeouts denied Indiana an opportunity to build upon its lead. Junior left fielder Casey Smith led off the inning with a bloop single. Sophomore second baseman Chad Clark sacrificed him to second. The West Hills, Calif., native would advance no further. Nolden struck out looking on a pitch that was well outside, and Schwarber swung through a 1-2 offering to end the inning.
Note: Mississippi State took the lead on Wes Rea’s two-run double in the eighth inning, closer Jonathan Holder turned back two Oregon State threats, and the Bulldogs beat the Beavers 5-4 in the opening game of the College World Series.
The Bulldogs (49-18) advanced to a Monday game against Indiana. The Beavers (50-12), the No. 3 national seed, are one loss from elimination.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.